6 Signs Your Squat Sucks
Written by Keith Hansen
December 27, 2016
Squat every day.
Don't skip leg day.
Squats are the king.
Squats are mega trendy these days, and any time something becomes popular there will be a lot of amateurs.
There is an endless amount of YouTube videos to watch, Instagram accounts to follow, and articles to read on squatting that can help you learn a great squat.
But how do you know if your squat sucks?
Here are 6 red flags that you might need more technique work.
1. Your quads are more sore than anything else
Good squats build the thigh muscles evenly.
The day after squatting you should note that your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and adductors(the muscles of your groin/inner thigh) are all sore. Not just your quads.
Major soreness in the quads from squatting (unless this is your goal) is a sign that your squat mechanics aren't what they could be.
2. Your knees hurt
This is the telltale indicator of bad squatting. It means you are squatting down & up by relying heavily on your knees/quads to do this.
Good squats are knees out and butt back, not just knees forward or up & down.
Take a video of your squat from the side.
If your knees are the first thing to move when you descend your squat sucks.
If your knees move at the same time that your hips move backwards you're doing it right.
3. Your low back is sore
The low back should certainly be engaged in the squat, but it shouldn't go through much movement if any at all.
Low back soreness tells you two things: either you're squatting so low that your lumbar spine is losing stability & causing sorness, or your squat turns into a goodmorning on the way up.
Both of these are bad.
Your squats should never go so low that you lose tightness in the lumbar spine, and your hips should never rise faster than your chest.
Check our video which gives a visual of how deep you should squat.
4. You deadlift a lot more than you squat
Most people will deadlift more than they squat, but typically never more than 10-15%.
Anyone I know that squats well only deadlifts a little bit more.
If the difference between your squat and deadlift maxes is more than 20% you have some work to do.
5. You squat a lot more than you deadlift
I know this seems contradictory in light of the last point but hear me out.
Everyone can agree what makes a deadlift a complete rep: the bar starts on the ground, and finishes with the lifter standing tall.
Rarely can two people decide on what makes a full range of motion squat.
Check out this squat to see a world-record squat that most people would say isn't close to being deep enough.
Check out this squat to see a squat that most people would call ass-to-grass get redlighted in competition (judged not deep enough).
If you are squatting more than you deadlift it's probably because you aren't squatting deep enough.
6. No one compliments your squat
Good squats are right up there with unicorns, great boob jobs, and perfectly poured beers.
They are majestic, and people notice.
If there are people around and you're squatting well at some point they will say something.
It doesn't matter how much weight is on the bar--when a squat is done right it is a beautiful thing, and anyone with a good squat will let you know.
What Should I Do?
If any of these red flags have popped up, it's time to work on your squat.
Focus on where you're feeling the burn, set up cameras and look at your form and start.
We've collected everything from form to squat variations into one guide. Check out The Serious Guide to the Low Bar Squat for more information.