Exercise Profile
  • Target Muscle Group
  • Exercise TypeStrength
  • Equipment RequiredOther
  • MechanicsCompound
  • Force TypePush (Bilateral)
  • Experience LevelBeginner
  • Secondary Muscles
    Abs, Adductors, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings
Target Muscle Group


Quads Muscle Anatomy Diagram

Counterbalanced Squat Overview

The counterbalanced squat is a variation of the squat and an exercise used to target the muscle groups of the leg.

The counterbalanced squat is an excellent starting point for those looking to perfect their squatting mechanics and master their squat form.

Counterbalanced Squat Instructions

  1. Set up in a standing position with your feet roughly shoulder width apart and your toes slightly turned out.
  2. Hold a plate directly out in front of you at chest height with your arms extended.
  3. Take a deep breath and descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
  4. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, reverse the movement by bracing your abs and driving your feet into the floor.
  5. Drive back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Counterbalanced Squat Tips

  1. If you struggle with hitting depth while squatting and you sense a sort of “pinching” in the front of the hip capsule then you may want to incorporate more squatting variations with an anterior load (counterbalanced squat, front squat, safety bar squat, etc.) as this will help to increase core recruitment and keep your pelvis neutral.
  2. Toe angle is highly individual - experiment to see what feels best for you. Some may need a larger toe flare than others but if your toe flare exceeds 15-20 degrees then there may be an ankle mobility issue which needs to be addressed.
  3. Drive through the whole foot - you want 3 points of contact: big toe, little toe, and heel.
  4. Imagine you’re trying to drop your back pockets straight towards your heels. Down, not back.
  5. Some forward translation of the knees over the toes is alright provided that the knees don’t deviate excessively inward or outward. Those with longer femurs will have to allow their knees to come farther forward if they want to remain upright.
  6. Don’t push the knees out excessively but ensure they track roughly over or slightly outside the 2nd toe.