Squatting is one of the most fundamental human movements and is critical to maintaining and maximizing functioning at any age. We put the squat to use every time we stand up from a chair, get out of the car, or finally climb up off the couch and turn off the television set. It is the most basic movement in our human existence.

The squat is a fundamental movement, and it’s also a great barometer of how effectively you can use the multiple muscle groups involved. A perfect squat requires flexibility and strength of hamstrings, glutes, and hip flexors, strong core muscles, and awareness of spinal alignment, balance, and knee positioning.  We’re talking about perfect coordination of pretty much every major muscle group south of the navel.

Squatting something that every adult has to work at regularly. What happens after years of sitting behind desks and steering wheels is that these muscles weaken and tighten to the point that a basic maneuver inherent to our species becomes a skill we have to relearn as adults. The good news is that it can be done – all it takes is Practice, Practice, Practice.

And all of this practice is totally worth it. Improving the depth of your squat and working on technique means that your balance, flexibility, strength, and core stability are all starting to improve. In the near-term, this means a lower likelihood of back, hip, and knee pain, as well as greater mobility. Further out you can certainly expect that a continued emphasis on perfecting your squat will keep you hopping sprightly after your grandkids and great-grandkids long into the future.

Here are some tips for a perfect squat:

  • Place your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart. The inside of your heels should fall just under the outside of your shoulders.
  • Externally rotate the legs about twenty degrees, such that your toes point outwards.
  • As you sit back and down, keep your chest up and eyes forward. If you find yourself looking at the floor, reposition your chest.
  • Keep your knees in line with your toes. Don’t let the knees cave in on you.

For a great workout at home, do 10 sets of 10 squats with perfect form. Record time.

Tip: A good way to practice your squat at home is to pick a chair or bench at a comfortable height that allows you to squat down and back up with perfect form. Gradually lower the support over time without sacrificing form. Practice in front of a full length mirror if possible.