How to do squats

Get your squatting technique just right and try these effective variations too.
Published 4 December 2015 | Updated 8 December 2023

How to do squats

The plan

Start with the basic squat and aim for three sets of 10 reps. As your overall strength improves, challenge your body by trying the variations.

What you need

An exercise ball, a weighted plate and a bosu ball for the variations.

Common mistakes

Watch your knees don’t turn inwards when you squat.
Keep your feet planted on the floor, and think about sitting back and down during a squat – don’t allow your weight to go too far over your feet.

1. Traditional squat

Do it right: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and facing forward. With the weight in your heels, bend your knees and sit back as if lowering into a chair. Keep your back straight as you lower down, and reach your arms in front of you to maintain balance. Press into your heels and squeeze your glutes as you stand back up.

Traditional squat

2. Wall squat

Easier version: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and lean your back flat against a wall or with an exercise ball balanced between your lower back and the wall. Bend your knees and lower into a sitting position, keeping your weight even through your heels and knees. Squeeze your glutes as you come back up to stand.

Wall squat

3. Weighted squat

Harder version: In the start position, hold a weighted plate in your hands with your arms crossed over your chest. Bend your knees and keep the weight close to your body as you sit into the squat. Press into your heels and stand back up.

Weighted squat

4. Bosu squat

With a twist: Place the bosu ball on the floor, blue side down. Carefully step onto the ball, keeping your feet on the outer edges of the ball and facing forward. Stand up tall, then slowly bend your knees. Extend your arms out in front of you to help maintain balance as you sit into the squat. Keep your heels pressed down and squeeze the muscles in your lower body as you stand back up.

Bosu squat