Starting Position: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, turned slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell each hand by your sides, with your palms facing inward. Pull your shoulder blades down and back.
Engage your core and abdominal muscles ("bracing") to stabilize your spine. Curl the dumbbells to a position where they rest on the front edge of your shoulders or just in front of your shoulders. Keep your chest up lifted and your chin parallel to the ground or slightly lifted. Shift your weight into your heels.
Downward Phase: Begin this phase by hinging at the hips, shifting them back and down. Your hips and knees bend simultaneously. As you lower your hips the knees bend and will start to shift forward slowly. Try to prevent your knees from traveling too far forward past the toes. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and try to keep your back flat (do not tuck the tail or arch the low back).
Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. If your heels begin to lift off the floor or your torso begins to round, return to start position. Be aware of any movement that may occur at your feet, ankles and knees. Work to ensure that the feet do not move, the ankles do not collapse in or out and the knees remain lined up with the second toe.
Lowered Position: Keep the knees aligned with the second toe and body weight evenly distributed between the balls and heels of both feet. If you can view this from the side, your shinbone should be parallel with your torso and the low back should appear flat or may be showing the beginning of some rounding.
Upward Phase: While maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and with the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. Keep the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned with the second toe.
Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to hold the shinbone too vertical which forces you to lean your torso too far forward. Using a mirror for feedback, shift your shinbones forward while keeping your heels on the floor, then bring your torso more upright, but do so from the hips and not through the low back. Squeeze your abdominals to help prevent excess arching in the back with this correction.