This Body Weight Squat tutorial video breaks down this essential knee dominant foundation movement pattern…

You’ll learn how to do it, the common mistakes and how to correct them, and regressions if you need them too.

Master the Body Weight Squat before loading up your Goblet Squats, Front Squats, Split Squats, Lateral Squats etc.

This knee dominant pattern tutorial gives you the tools you need to practice good habits that’ll translate into all your knee dominant lifts.

And ultimately remove any knee dominant movement limitations you have in your Muay Thai technique.

by Don Heatrick

Why Use The Body Weight Squat & What You’ll Need

The Body Weight Squat develops and warms up the knee dominant movement pattern. And you’ll only need a dowel to learn this pattern, and a couple of thin weight plates if you need to regress the exercise.

Body Weight Squat Technique Breakdown

Starting by placing your feet somewhere between hip width apart or as wide as the inside of your feet level with the outside of your shoulders.

The feet should be somewhere between either straight ahead or with the toes flaring out at around the 11 o Clock and 1 o Clock position. It all depends on your hip anatomy and mobility, you’ll need to find what gives you the best movement. Most people squat with some toe out.

Looking forwards, raise your arms in front to help with balance. Keeping your torso as upright as possible with a long spine – that is, your lower back naturally curved while your ribs stay open into the chest – simultaneously send your knees forward over your toes and your hips back as you concertina your legs, sitting down toward the floor while keeping your weight balanced over the middle of your foot.

Sink as low as you can without rounding your back. Then, feel like you spread the floor apart beneath your feet as you push the floor away to return to standing, feeling equal pressure on both the heel and the ball of the foot in contact with the ground.

Actively “pull” yourself down toward the floor on the descent, as if gravity is reversed! That way you’ll stay tight and strong without any slack in your form.

Body Weight Squat Common Mistakes

Common mistakes are:

Allowing the knees to cave in, which places undue stress on the knees. It’s worth noting this valgus caving in is harder to spot if you have a wider stance with the feet flared out.

Practicing a squat while driving the knees out against a mini band placed just below the knee caps can help you correct this mistake.

Rounding your back is another mistake.

Your lower back should remain neutral throughout the exercise without either rounding under or arching back, imagine your pelvis is a bowl of water that doesn’t spill from either the front or back.

The upper back should be extended with the ribs open at the chest. But, be careful not to over arch your lower back in this upright position while doing this, spilling water out the front of your pelvis – to help keep this upper back extension imagine showing your t-shirt logo on the front as you descend.

You can practice the correct spinal alignment by placing a dowel between your shoulder blades and onto your tail bone as you squat keeping those those points in contact along with the back of the head.

Balancing without your hands in front is tricky, but if you lose contact with the dowel at the bottom, you’re rounding your lower back. If you lose contact between your shoulder blades while your head is in contact you’re not keeping your neck straight.

Practice going as deep as you can keeping all three points in contact with the dowel.

Other mistakes to watch out for are the heels coming up off the floor, or bowing too far forward sending the hips too far back. These could indicate you don’t have enough ankle mobility.

Making The Body Weight Squat Easier

To make the exercise easier, place a pair of plates on the floor at your squat stance width, and stand with your heels elevated on those plates.

This artificially increases your ankle range of motion and makes it easier to keep your form over a greater depth.

Use thicker plates to raise the heel higher if you still struggle. And bear in mind squatting in barefoot shoes is also harder than using shoes with a heel lift. Remember to only squat to a depth that you can maintain good form.

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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