There are many things that go into making a good squat that is suited to the individual. However I believe they can be distilled down to 3 main factors.
This means obviously the angle of your back. It means that the angle of your back stays the same throughout the duration of the lift. If your back angle flattens out as you rise from the bottom of the squat it means that your hips are rising first. This is interpreted into the “good morning” squat which piles the load onto your lower back as the line of force moves too far forward. If your back angle becomes too vertical as you rise you are taking the load off some muscles that should stay recruited in order to make the lift.
RANGE OF MOTION
This means the amount of movement you’re getting out of the squat. This will vary from person to person based on their strength level and how mobile they are. If a person has never squatted before it’s very unlikely that they will be able to complete a good-looking squat to any kind of lower depth. One of the many movements that we lose first as we move through modern life is the ability to squat down. In many cultures this doesn’t happen as it’s customary to squat while performing tasks like eating.
Funnily enough, the article this picture relates too calls this the “Asian Squat”. It’s just a squat. Anybody can do this if they keep maintaining this movement pattern throughout their lives.
If you have ever heard the phrase “drive through your heels” when performing a squat, you should be aware that this means you are off balance. When squatting your centre of gravity should bisect your body when viewed from the side. This means that all of your weight should be distributed evenly through both of your feet. Too far froward on your feet and you can tip forward. Too far back and you can tip backwards. Imagine the end result of this if you have a barbell on your back. You can do yourself some real harm.
Picture credit to Barbell Medicine. Pictured as 3 variations of the barbell squat, Front, High Bar and Low Bar.
As long as the bar stays over the middle of your foot for the duration of the lift, you’re good.
There are many other details to look at in a squat but aside from these 3 main points they are just that, details.
Credit for this post idea goes to Alan Thrall at Untamed Strength.