How To: Use The Right Muscle When You Squat

If you’re a regular attendee of our classes– then it isn’t “new” news for you to hear about us at Reason teaching the points of performance when squatting! 

But if you don’t attend classes at Reason Fitness or have never heard a source of guidance formally break down the WHY instead of just teaching you the HOW, then this is for you. If you want to know how to develop strong squatting form and skills, this is for you.

Below is a demonstration of the Air Squat with its points of performance (the “how”). 


There are 4 main things to pay attention to when squatting: 

  1. Set-Up & Stance
  2. Breathing
  3. Descent of the Movement
  4. Ascent of the Movement

Although making sure a squat looks good.. I’m here to tell you how each should FEEL, not just whether or not it looks good. 

Set-Up & Stance

When developing the right muscles during the squat, the foundation of everything banks on whether or not you’re in the correct starting position. It would be analogous to someone getting ready to run a 400m Sprint but their stance was as wide as a sumo wrestlers… this is not setting someone up for success! 

Find a width between the feet that feel as if you are able to descend the hip crease below the knees dependably. This means you need to practice a few repetitions. Try 10 reps slowly and adjust to your comfortability! Keeping the chest tall and tracking the knees in alignment with the pinky toe of your foot will allow for a stable and dependable feeling at the bottom of each squat where the hips. 


This topic has always been a tricky one because, well, what if we’re moving fast and can’t align our breathing with the speed we want to be at?? 

An olympic weightlifting coach once said “slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Today, let this be your mantra! It will be much easier for you to move quickly once you’ve done it slowly and confidently. 

Follow this simple 3 step process: Breathe into the belly at the top of each repetition, hold the breath the whole way down AND up, and exhale at the top. 

Think of your opportunity to breathe as a “window” at the top of each repetition where the aim is to maintain a stiff and stable core and hip position prior to the descent. Try 10 reps, slowly, and build this habit! 

Descent & Ascent of the Movement

I coupled the descent and ascent because it makes so much sense to explain them together instead of separately. 

Here the trick: Upon setting yourself up in a confident stance and breathing in your core in a way that helps stiffen up your midline and hips, begin each repetition as if you sat back with the hips as much as you kept the chest tall throughout the movement. The aim here is to find a position that helps you feel it in both the glutes and quads (in the butt and thighs) equally! 

Try 10 reps, slowly, and see if you can find the right muscles to work (as stated above). 

And just like that, you have the squat! 

Next time you come into classes, or if you’re doing this from home, make sure to practice these principles and you’ll be set up for a GREAT training session. 

If this is helpful, forward this to someone in your life who you think would also get a lot out of these tips! 

See you soon Reason Community 🙂 

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