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How to Perform a Proper Squat

Squats are such an integral part of any bodyweight or strength training routine. So many people do squats, but most people do them wrong.😬 If you’ve never thought about it, odds are you’re probably squatting wrong. It’s easy to fall into lazy habits, but a squat done wrong is not as effective, and you’ll be more likely to develop inconsistencies and injuries. So get it right before you start adding on more weight!

Here are some things to watch out for next time you squat!

Common Squat Mistakes

Ew, gross, no, don’t do this, please!

A Proper Squat

How To

Step 1- Neutral Starting Position: Plant both feet on the floor, slightly further than shoulder width apart. Draw shoulders and head up and back. Activate (tighten) your core, drawing your back into a neutral position (imagine your spine/vertebrae stacked directly one on top of another).

Step 2: Continue looking straight ahead, activating your core, and holding that neutral back throughout the entire motion. Bend at the knees and slightly at the hips, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes.

Step 3- Bottom Position: Continue bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

Step 4: Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position.

What it Looks Like

Key points to remember during your squat:

  1. Back Neutral

  2. Shoulders/Head Up & Back

  3. Knees Behind Toes

  4. Hips Tucked

  5. Abs Activated

Correcting Your Squat Form

Performing a proper squat can be difficult. If you’re not sure of your form, I recommend performing your squat in a mirror and checking out your form. If you have trouble holding proper form, whether that means sticking out your butt, coming up on your toes, bending too far forward there are a few things I would recommend to anyone who is having trouble.

Hold on To Something While Squatting

I know it sounds so basic. But just holding onto something is a great way to practice the correct squatting motion. Below are some pictures of this simple practice using the side of a squatting rack- this would really work with any sturdy piece of equipment.

Strengthen Core

One of the most important parts of a squat is that strong core. You need those strong core muscles to help you through this motion. A strong core will also allow you to hold the proper positioning while squatting, and will keep you balanced and braced throughout the exercise to avoid injuries.

For a few core strengthening routines please check out: 8 Exercises for Rock Hard Abs, or Build Your Own Core Routine.

SMR/ Stretching

Finally, if you’re having trouble correcting your improper squat form, it is very likely you have tight or overactive muscles. Whether it’s your calves, hamstrings, hip flexors, or even lats- there are all kind of muscles which may be affecting your squat form.

Luckily tight muscles are usually a simple fix. Practice foam rolling or stretching on your problem spots to keep your muscles loose and happy, and at their optimal length for performance.

Don’t forget, if you’re going to be doing static stretching just don’t do it before your workout, as some studies have shown it can inhibit your performance for up to 10 minutes after static stretching.

I hope this helps you guys perfect your squatting form! Let me know if you have any questions or tips in the comments below.

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