As a trainer of 8 years I have had the chance to watch thousands of people work out. In this time I have noticed that out of all the exercises done at the gym, the “Squat” seems to be the one exercise that most people perform with either bad form, or in a way that limits the true potential of what many consider the greatest single exercise for building lean muscle mass and increasing longevity and quality of life. Research shows that leg strength is one the greatest predictors of mortality rate. Therefore, learning the correct squatting position and depth is very important to a successful workout program.
To get the maximum benefits of the “Squat” you must get low. You should be getting as deep into the squat as your body allows. The goal is to squat to where your hips are below your knees as seen in picture (figure A). In fact, your gluteal muscles are only truly activated once you squat below your knees. So if your goal is to tone up the glutes, you need to get the hips below the knees. Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart with the toes slightly pointed outward. The entire foot should stay planted throughout the entire range of motion and the majority of weight should be set back into the heels. As you start to come back up out of the squat it is important to maintain a flat back and avoid any type of excessive arching through the spine as seen in the picture (figure B)