By Sebastian Oreb

Is there a Squat Technique That is Suitable for EVERYONE?

When it comes to strength training, technique is everything.

But is there a one-size-all fits approach when it comes to technique? 
Well, the short answer is Рyes and no.  

There are rules and guidelines that help us define ‚Äúgood technique‚ÄĚ, but at the same time, the correct technique for a given lift will look different on¬†each and every¬†lifter.¬†¬†

If you‚Äôre confused already, then don‚Äôt worry because I will explain it all below – but first, we should take a moment to define what I¬†actually mean¬†when I refer to¬†‚Äúgood technique‚ÄĚ.¬†

‚ÄúGood technique‚ÄĚ is a bit of an arbitrary term, but¬†generally speaking we¬†can define it as the most efficient way for our body to move a weight from Point A to Point B. The most efficient technique will also be the safest movement pattern, and fortunately for us, it is also the technique that has the most potential for strength.¬†

When we break each exercise down, there are typically some ‚Äúnon-negotiable‚ÄĚ rules that everyone should follow, but we also see some individual variations between lifters. So,¬†there is not a complete ‚Äúone-size-fits-all‚ÄĚ technique, but there are¬†definitely some¬†core rules that I highly recommend that¬†everyone¬†adheres to.¬†¬†
For example, although I will teach the exact same squat cues to each lifter, and some of these cues are ‚Äúnon-negotiable‚ÄĚ.¬†Each lifter has different shapes and¬†proportions¬†and this means that the technique might look quite different from one person to the next.¬†

Below are the cues that I teach for a low bar squat: 

  1. Grab the barbell as close as your shoulder mobility allows 
  2. Place the barbell on the shelf created by the rear delts 
  3. Pull the elbows back and shoulder blades down to engage all the right muscles of the upper back 
  4. Unrack the weight and walk out to your comfortable stance 
  5. Look straight ahead, reaching the crown of your head towards the ceiling 
  6. Initiate the movement by spreading the floor 
  7. Pushing the knees out in the same direction as the toes 
  8. Squat down as deep as your mobility allows, maintaining a neutral pelvis and therefore a neutral spine throughout the lift 

If a room filled with lifters all performed the cues above, side by side, each lifter’s technique would look different from the person beside them Рeven though they would all be squatting correctly and with the same cues! 

One of the most noticeable differences that you can see between lifters is their torso angle. Some lifters can maintain a very upright squat position, whilst other lifters will present with a more bent over torso angle Рhowever both groups should be presenting with a neutral spine (a non-negotiable).   

So¬†although each lifter in the room will be following one of my favourite cues, to ‚Äúreach the crown of the head to the ceiling‚ÄĚ, this will look different from person to person, depending on their different proportions, strengths and weaknesses. If the cues are applied well, each position is still¬†correct!¬†

Now, we apply that to all aspects of the squat, from person to person, and you have a room filled with lifters all performing a squat with ‚Äúgood technique‚ÄĚ, and whilst every person would technically be squatting correctly, it will present differently on¬†everyone.¬†

Keep this in mind when critiquing and cueing both your own and your clients squats! 

Check out Sebastian Oreb’s Strength System International Certifications to learn the core fundamentals of technique and program design for strength development.