Like a wise sponge said, it’s all in the technique.
Squats are the backbone of many a workout menu. They’re quick, they’re simple, and they’re great for your, well, backbone! But the thing about simple exercises is that proper technique actually becomes even more important that with the more intricate stuff. Poor technique can result in muscle cramps, aches, and even straight-up injury. Because squats are so simple and you can do them so quickly, if your technique is sloppy, you may already have a bunch of squats under your belt before you realize you’ve hurt yourself. This is why you need to determine your ideal squatting posture and technique to maximize gains and minimize pains.
First consider your feet. Your feet should be balanced across three precise points: your heel, your big toe, and your little toe. You want to try to create a flat triangle shape, kinda like a duck’s foot. This flat shape will help to keep you grounded and balanced. If your balance isn’t properly distributed, you could put your weight on your feet in strange ways and pull muscles.
Next, the knees. When you squat down, you want your knees to extend in line with your third toes. You also want to fan your knees outward slightly to create a spring-like coiling effect. In this way, you can squat down and push up utilizing momentum, rather than bending manually. Your hips can also help to provide stability.
Speaking of your hips, your hips and back are two of the most important factors here. Try to move your hips straight down without sticking your butt out too far back. If you push them too far back, you’ll just fold in on yourself. Remember, your hips are a hinge, let them bend. While they’re bending, try to keep your back straight. You want your spine to be neutral and loose; if you bend your back, your center of gravity will be thrown out of whack.
These are just some tips; everyone has their own ideal technique. The most important thing to remember is that if it feels like an exercise is hurting you, and not in a good way, stop and readjust.