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How to Squat: Step by step setup guide

Finding your Squat

The squat is another fundamental movement which is used every day in life so it's easy to understand why getting a stronger squat will make everyday tasks that much easier.

As I have done with the deadlift, I will be putting together a step by step guide on the set up for the squat that you can look at before your next squat session.

Step 1:

The first step when squatting would be to decide on where you will put the bar on your back. There are 2 main options that you may hear referred to, although in reality you will benefit best by treating it as a scale and placing the bar wherever it feels most comfortable.

These options are High Bar and Low Bar. High bar will sit up on your traps and the low bar will sit on your rear delts. Whichever option you pick you will still be aiming to put some tension on the bar by pulling the bar into you. A common que for this is “try to bend the bar over your back” with the goal being keeping your back tight.

High bar and low bar examples, remember that this can be treated as a scale but just make sure the bar is over mid foot during the lift.

Step 2:

Once you have decided on your bar placement the next step will be to find the stance width (so how wide or narrow you stand) and toe angle (the degree that you face your feet out) that allows you to hit a good depth and feel secure.

This could be a wide range of possibilities so some experimentation will be required. Here are some examples of different set ups.

Moderate Wide Narrow

Example of different stance widths

You should be looking for a stance that will allow you to keep weight over the middle of your foot, reach a good depth and doesn't cause loss of balance or heel movement.

Step 3:

Step 3 is to film your lift. When starting out it is a good idea to film yourself from a side view. This will allow you to see if the weight distribution is staying over mid foot. If you find that your heels are lifting, a wider stance that requires a bit less ankle mobility may suit you best to start with.

If you have tried a few different stance widths and toe angles and still struggle to pick up the movement the box squat may help. With this lift you can set the box to a comfortable height and lower the box each session instead of adding more weight. This will allow you to be more confident when squatting and as you lower the box get a feeling for where your balance point is.

Step 4:

The final step will be to make sure you keep the same set up. If you are changing it constantly, improvements could be inconsistent and it will limit your ability to progress over time. Do this by keeping the videos of your best sets and look back at them before you squat next. Any changes that you do make should be small and given time, this way you will get used to the new altered movement and the impact of any changes will be more apparent.

Following these simple steps will help you find your stance and make your Squat repeatable and allow you to progress without the variability of an inconsistent set up.

Save this post to look back before your next leg day.

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