Squat Therapy: How do you properly do a squat?

Squatting is a movement that can be found in many facets of our our lives. From going to the toilet to CrossFit, you would find yourself performing some form of squatting.

Now that you are well-versed with the importance and benefits of squatting, we can start working on movement drills to help you achieve your perfect asian squat.

Before we start, it’s important that you recognise that professional help will often yield the best results. The movement drills we share are generic advices that would help you squat properly. However, results differ from individual to individual due to the uniqueness of who you are as a person.

If you are suffering from back pain or knee pain, it may not be a bad idea to consult with our chiropractor first before working on these drills.

What is a squat?


At the simplest definition, squat is about lowering your body towards the ground through the bending of your knees.

This is very different from other ways of reaching downwards. In a forward bend, you would reach for the ground by flexing your spine (i.e., rounding your back) with minimal bending at your knees. A hip hinge would bring your body closer to the ground through flexion at your hips (i.e., bending at your waist). A true hip hinge doesn’t require bending of the knees.

According to CrossFit, a squat is a natural movement of your body or very large loads across a variety of positions.

Today, we will go through four movements drills to help you help yourself find your true squat.

The Wall Squat

wall squat, squat therapyThe wall squat variation is very different from the more commonly performed wall sit.

In a traditional wall sit, you would lean your back against the wall wall and gradually lower yourself into a half squat position (parallel to the floor) while resting your back against the wall.

For this wall squat, you will be performing the squat while facing the wall.

The wall would act as both a visual and tactile feedback to help you improve your front squat technique. It is performed with your arms overhead and the key is to not let any part of your body touch the wall.

  • Stand approximately half a step away from the wall in a shoulder width stance.
  • Stretch your arms out above your head. 
  • Push your hips back and lower yourself down with control. Do not push past what your body is willing to let you do.
  • Your hands should be hovering on the wall without touching it. Your head and torso should also be away from the wall. 

Some of the useful cues that you can use to help yourself during the wall squat are:

  • Push your chest up or retract your shoulder blades to maintain an upright posture. This will allow you to descend further into the squat without touching the wall.
  • Pulling your arms as far behind as your body allows will also help with maintaining an upright position.
  • For stability, think of gripping your toes against the ground. Also make sure that your knees are tracking up and down in a straight line. Excessively knee movements will make the squat motion harder to control.

If you are struggling to keep your arms and body off the wall, take another half step away from the wall and try again. As your squat movement pattern improves, you can gradually move your feet closer to the wall. 

The Bar Squat

bar squat, back painBy this stage, you would have worked on the bodily awareness and have a good idea of what it means to squat with an upright torso or neutral position of the spine.

The bar squat will continue to help you maintain an upright posture by working on your thoracic spine as well as your shoulder mobility. It will also prepare you for an overhead squat.

To perform a bar squat, you will need a bar as well as a squat rack or squat stands.

Do note that the bar squat is not a barbell squat. For this movement drill, the bar remains racked through the entire movement (i.e., you are not moving the bar in this exercise). 

  • Stand with your feet in a shoulder-width stance with your hands holding onto the bar or forearms resting on the bar.
  • With your hands holding on the bar or forearms resting on the bar (without unracking the bar), slowly descend yourself into a squat position.
  • Focus on keeping your hips back (i.e., hip hinge) and use the bar for feedback to keep your torso upright. You may want to push your arms down into the bar as you descend to your squat.
  • Once you have reach your desired depth, slowly ascend to the start position again while maintaining the same contact between your arms and the bar.

The bar squat is very similar to the wall squat. The difference being you can exert into the bar during the squat. This will help improve thoracic mobility, and also prepare your body for an overhead squat.

As you work on the bar squat, you should find yourself being able to assume a better upright stance.

Once you are comfortable with how you are moving, bring yourself slightly closer to the bar and work through the movements again.

After two to six weeks, as you become proficient with the movement, you may want to check the wall squat again. Congratulate yourself for the progress you have made!

The Pole Squat

pole squat, asian squat

The pole squat is great for people who find themselves losing their balance during a squat. Assuming your balance issues are minor, the pole squat will be able to help you gain more stability.

If you have more severe stability issues, you may need to consult a professional to get some extra work done for your squats.

  • Stand about an arm’s length away from a steady pole. You may use the vertical pole of a power rack for this. 
  • Assuming a shoulder width stance, hold the pole with both hands and sit back into the squat. Using the pole for support, try your best to stay upright and not tip over.
  • Once you have reach your target depth, slowly ascend to the start position.

With the pole as your support, focus on working through your full range of motion, bearing in mind to keep within what your body allows you.

Quite often, beginners will find themselves tipping over or losing their balance before reaching their full depth. The pole squat will allow you to achieve maximum depth without having these issues get into the way.

To get more work into the deep squat stance, hold the bottom position and pull the pole towards yourself. This should be an isometric contraction (iso- meaning same, metric meaning length) with no movement.

The Goblet Squat

crossfit singapore, deep squatWe recommend working on the earlier bodyweight squat drills for at least two weeks to six weeks before moving on the goblet squat.

The goblet squat is an unsupported, weighted squat. This means all the movements that you have worked on previously will be put to work!

If you are not comfortable with holding yourself upright during a wall squat, your body may not be ready for the goblet squat.

To start:

  • Hold a kettlebell by the handles in front of your chest. Be sure to keep the kettlebell close to your body with your elbows tucked in close to your ribs.
  • Stand with your feet in a shoulder width stance.
  • Lower yourself down into a deep squat. Your elbows should be inside your knees as you descend. At this point, push your knees out (away from the midline of the body) with your elbows.
  • Once you have reach your target depth, slowly ascend to the start position.

The goblet squat is a great movement drill to work on knee tracking. While knee collapsing inwards (i.e., valgus knee) is not inherently dangerous for you, pushing your knees out can help “open” the hips to improve hip mobility.

For extra oomph, squeeze your knees against your elbows as your elbows push against them.

Why is squat technique so important?

old woman kettlebell
Squatting may be difficult for you if you have knee pain. However, with the right strategy, squatting can help you improve your knee pain — even if you have arthritic knees! Make an appointment with us to find out how we can help you squat towards freedom from pain.

Whether you like it or not, you are already squatting in your daily life. Having a good squat technique will not only allow you to move well. You also get to build various muscle groups and keep your joints healthy!

Give these four squat therapy drills a shot and let the magic happen!


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.