Squatting with proper technique ensures that the quadriceps, biceps femoris, gluteals, and erector spinae receive an overload stress appropriate for development of muscular strength and hypertrophy. The following list will serve as a guideline for the novice lifter:
1. Bar placement should be approximately 1-3 inches below the anterior deltoid. The lower the bar placement, the lower the center of gravity, and the easier the lift will be as long as the bar is not placed exceedingly low on the shoulders, then it becomes difficult to keep the torso erect and puts undue stress on the shoulder joints.
2. Even a slight variation in foot spacing causes a significant change in muscle involvement and places the lifter at a biomechanical disadvantage. Generally, the feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width. This will increase the availability and usage of the larger and more powerful muscles. Also, this stance will enable the lifter to arrive at a parallel position much earlier than with a narrow stance, thus shortening the distance traveled and consequently doing less mechanical work.
3. The lifter should start the descent by leading with the hips rather than the knees. If the lifter should bend the knees before shifting the hips backwards, then the shins will not be perpendicular to the floor. Keeping the lower legs straight, which is one of the most difficult skills to master, minimizes the stress on the knees by keeping the knee joint directly over the foot which also keeps power centered under the bar.
4. Heels should be flat on the floor for the entire duration of the lift. Raising the heels up predisposes the knees to injury and shifts the lifters center of gravity forward which forces the lower back to compensate and places the lower back in a precarious position. The erector spinae should be the stabilizing muscle that keeps the torso erect; it should not become the primary mover in the squat. The legs, gluteals, and hips are more powerful than the lower back.
5. The lifter should have fully inhaled while starting the descent. The breath should be expelled when the "sticking point" is reached in the ascent, which is typically around thirty degrees of extension. This technique will increase interstitial leverage and aid in keeping the torso erect by forcing the chest out in front of the bar.