As I stated in my previous post: Strength Training Workouts and Biomechanics of the Squat, the squat is one of the foundational exercises used for almost all types of training and for each of the various training styles people use, there are numerous methods of performing the squat. In this post, I’d like to offer photo demonstrations of me performing the three types of squats I’ve seen most commonly used: functional/power lifting, bodybuilding, and deep barbell squats.

Functional or ‘Power Lifting’ Squat

· Stance is hip width or wider
· Movement initiated and controlled by hips
· Maintain neutral spine throughout movement
· Body weight starts and stays in heals throughout entire movement
· Knees stay in same plane throughout movement, knees stay behind the toes
· Hip, knee, and ankle move at the same rate of speed

‘Body building’ Squat

· Stance is slightly narrower than hip width
· Movement initiated by knees
· Maintain neutral spine throughout movement
· Body weight often shifts into balls of the feet, heels sometimes come up
· Knees stay in same plane throughout movement, often in front of toes
· Knees move at the fastest rate of speed while hip and ankle are secondary

Deep Barbell Squats

· Generally stance is wider than hips but not always
· Movement initiated either at the hip or knees
· Maintain neutral spine throughout movement
· Body weight can be in heels or balls of feet depending on form used (heels recommended)

While I certainly have my favorite type of squat (functional) and the one that I feel is most effective (functional), it’s true that one can justify using any of these (functional is best) as long as it is done safely, and with an element of progression that allows the joints to withstand the different types of tension each method of squatting presents. If you want to try each of them, I recommend doing so by starting with a weight that is light, and practicing the motion with perfect form. As you are able, you can then increase the weight to one that is challenging for you. Try them and let me know which one you feel is the most effective (functional), safest (functional), and improves your performance the most (functional). I have no bias to any of them in particular (functional) but I do recommend starting with the movement that offers lowest risk and highest benefit. In this case, that would be the functional squat (surprise!).