The Squat is a full body compound exercise. You Squat by bending your hips and knees while the bar rests on your upper-back. Squat down until your hips are below your knees. Keep your knees out and lower back neutral. Then Squat back up. Lock your hips and knees at the top.
Squats work your whole body. Your legs bend and straighten to move the weight. Your abs and lower back muscles stabilize your trunk while your legs move. Your upper-back, shoulders and arms balance the bar on your back. Many muscles work at the same time, not just your legs.
The Squat is the king of all exercises. It works more muscles, with heavier weight, than more popular exercises like the Bench Press. It’s therefore more effective to gain overall strength and muscle quickly. That’s why you’re Squatting 3x/week on the StrongLifts 5×5 workout.
Proper Squat form is key to avoid knee and back pain. Don’t do partial Squats by going only half the way down. Break parallel by Squatting down until your hips are below your knees. Push your knees out so they’re inline with you feet. Keep your lower back neutral, don’t let it round.
This is the definitive guide to proper form on the Squat exercise. It covers Squat benefits, Squat technique, muscles worked, common Squat issues and pain, as well as Squat variations like the Front Squat and Olympic Squat.