If you want to build leg strength and size then hit the squat rack.

The squat is one of the best and most commonly used exercises to build strength and size. That’s why pretty much every athlete and bodybuilder practically lives in one of these racks.

Now, if you do your squats and you’re thinking, “I haven’t seen the results I want, so I’m going to give that up” you might be doing it wrong. Here is a step by step breakdown of how you should properly do your squats.

First, find your footing. Keep a wide base to focus on the inner quads and glutes. A narrow base will target the outer quads, so position your feet accordingly.

Next, keep your head up. I’m not speaking motivationally, I mean literally, keep your head up. Don’t look down because this will put a strain on your neck and spine. Try to keep your head level when squatting so you’re focused on your legs and butt.

The third thing you want to do is watch your weight. Do not sacrifice form for the amount of weight you want. If you have to go lighter to have the proper form then do it. You aren’t going to see results if you’re squatting 500 pounds but barely moving. You should feel pressure when you’re squatting but it shouldn’t be unbearable.

Now let’s get into your form. You’ve probably asked yourself, “How low should I go?” You should go to the point where your upper legs are parallel to ground and then explode up. If you’re not going this low then you probably aren’t getting the results you’re after.

As for reps- the lower body is stronger than you think and can handle a higher rep count. I would say anywhere between 8-12 reps per set would be a good number but don’t be afraid to bump that up to 15 or 16 if you think you can handle it safely.

Speaking of safety. You’ve heard it before, do NOT extend your knees past your toes. This form could greatly increase your chance of injury or loss of balance, and you really don’t want that to happen with a metal bar full of weight on it.

If you’re doing this right then you should feel some stress in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings, and you should be seeing results before you know it. Squat on!