The key to any exercise, no matter what you do, is to have good form. Poor form can result in lack of range of motion, strain on your muscles, longer to see results, and even a possible injury. One of my favorite exercises are squats since they not only tighten all of your leg muscles but can give a total body workout as well.
Start feet shoulder width apart and perform a full squat with no weight. Experiment with moving your feet several inches together and farther away in order to find your greatest mobility at the least effort. I’ve found that the best range of motion is to have your quads parallel to the ground. Your toes should be 10-15 degrees pointed outwards. No one’s body is alike with their hip joints so no two people will have the same stance.
Approach the rack and start off with just the bar at 45lbs. Place hands outside of shoulder width at a comfortable distance so they are not fully extended. At a controlled rate, lower your hips backwards as you would be sitting in a chair- this will keep heels planted to the ground. During the movement your knees should never come out over your toes as it can cause you to lose your balance. Try to keep your back flat as possible and your abs tight during the squat. Breathe in while lowering your body to the parallel position. Exhale your way up while pushing through the heels and do not let you knees buckle inwards. When you are at the top of your rep do not lock your knees by keep them slightly bent.
8-10 sets of 10 reps at lower weight with 60-90 seconds rest between sets. You can use the same weight or increase by 5-10 pounds for each set.
5-6 sets at 3-6 reps with higher weight and longer rest of 3 minutes between sets. Weight should be around 80% of your one rep maximum.
Remember it is better to have lower weight and perform a full squat with great form than to go heavy on weight and have poor form and lack of motion. As you become stronger and your form gets better you can add more weight.