All Kinds of Squats!

RFT: Iron in Heels is a bi-weekly series on that seeks to educate, inspire, and empower Tamil youth to improve their fitness and well-being by developing an active lifestyle.

Written By: Sulaksana Sabaratnam


All Kinds of Squats!

Time and time again, I can’t help but notice members at the gym performing exercises with improper form. I don’t mean to be the form police, but I can’t even begin to stress how important form is! By using the correct form, you can prevent unnecessary strain on muscles that are not meant to be the focus of that specific exercise as well as added pressure on joints.

The squat – probably one of the most effective compound exercises of them all; targeting the entire body and engaging a vast amount of muscles.

Let’s start with the nitty-gritty on how the basic bodyweight squat is performed.

1. Stand upright with shoulders back.
2. Place feet shoulders width apart and angle your feet slightly outwards.
3. Extend your arms straight in front of you or crossed over your shoulders for balance.
4. Squat down, driving your hips back, while keeping your shoulders back and chest out.

a. Ensure that your knees do not pass your toes and

b. Keep your knees from straying outwards (imbalance)

You have now officially done your standard squat!

Now for the fun part! Let’s look at the different variations of squats; feet close together, feet wide apart and feet forward.

Feet Close Together

By placing your feet together with toes pointed forward, you activate your outer thighs, otherwise known as your vastus lateralis.

Feet Wide Apart

By placing your feet wide apart and having your toes angled outwards, you will help fortify your inner thighs, which are also known as your vastus medialis.

Feet Forward

You might think this sounds absurd but, I think this position is a definitely worth mentioning. This is something that can be performed on a hack squat or smith press machine, which supplies additional support. By placing your feet forward, more than usual, you activate your hamstrings and glutes. This is beneficial when trying to counter balance the strength of our powerful quads.


When using the smith press to perform a standard squat, it is essential that one places their feet roughly 15’’ in front of the bar. Why would someone do that? Next time you use the machine, take note of the angle in which the bar follows; when performing a squat from a straight upright position, your knees are guaranteed to pass your toes. So, when performing the squat to place a greater emphasis on your hamstrings and glutes, you are actually placing them further than 15’’ from the bar.

There are several other ways to make squats more interesting by performing:

1)    Box Jump into a Squat Position

2)    Forward Jump Squats

3)    Stationary Jump Squats (try it weighted by holding an ez-bar on your shoulders)

Bottom line – A simple exercise, such as the squat, can help target various parts of your major muscles by easily changing the angle or position of your feet. Just keep in mind that form is crucial when executing any exercise.


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Stay Tuned for my next piece on “Don’t Forget Your Food!”

You can also contact me on Instagram at @sulaksanas and be sure to follow for some daily gym motivation!



Sulaksana Sabaratnam is a certified personal trainer and weight-loss consultant. She is currently working towards her nutrition manager (NM) certification. With her passion in fitness and her drive to challenge the limits of her body, Sulaksana also enjoys educating her male and female clientele who benefit from both, her physical weight training and complementary nutrition knowledge. Through her articles, she hopes to help women feel comfortable in the gym atmosphere, invite women to take on strength training to strengthen and accentuate the feminine curves and encourage them to ask questions freely. Follow her via Instagram at @sulaksanas for daily inspiration! 

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