The one reason you might find squats difficult and how to fix it, according to a trainer

Women squat differently to men—here's why that's important

A woman in a sports vest, leggings and sneakers performs a squat on a sidewalk. Her knees are bent, hips pushed back and her arms are crossed in front of her. Behind her, we can see a big building with lots of windows and the tops of leafy trees.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The squat is a fantastic full-body movement that can help you build strength in the legs and the core. If you find the form challenging, especially if you’re doing weighted squats, the fix you need might be in your foot position.

Maintaining good form is crucial to reduce the risk of injury. Plus, nailing your form will ensure you hit all the correct muscles and get the most out of the movement to help you develop strength.

Stacy Orsborn, a personal trainer and founder of the fitness program Victress MVMT, a fitness franchise for women's strength training, says there's one small issue women may have in their squat form. Addressing this could transform your experience of squatting and the results you get from it.

Why women squat differently to men

"The female hips are a little bit wider and more angled than a man's," Orsborn explains. "So to get a lower squat, women need to externally rotate the hips slightly so they can come down fully into the squat," she adds.

This means that women need to turn their feet out slightly wider than men to make moving into the squat position more comfortable.

As well as making the squatting experience more pleasant, adjusting your squat form could also reduce your risk of injury.

A study published in Gait Posture found that women doing single-leg squats were more prone to injuries in the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)—one of the ligaments that stabilize the knee—than men because of the differences in hip strength and movement.

"Making these changes can prevent long-term injuries like an ACL injury" Orsborn explains.

For more tips and advice, take a look at our guide on how to squat.

Alice Porter
Freelancer Writer

Alice Porter is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle topics including health, fitness and wellness. She is particularly interested in women's health, strength training and fitness trends and writes for publications including Stylist Magazine, Refinery29, The Independent and Glamour Magazine. Like many other people, Alice's personal interest in combining HIIT training with strength work quickly turned into a CrossFit obsession and she trains at a box in south London. When she's not throwing weights around or attempting handstand push-ups, you can probably find her on long walks in nature, buried in a book or hopping on a flight to just about anywhere it will take her.