The king of all exercises to make sure that you are getting into your workout protocol is the squat.
If you want to see fast strength gains and greater progress in the gym it’s one exercise that’s an absolute must to add to your regular routine.
That said, if you don’t do it correctly, you’re in for some serious problems ahead. Not only will you not get the results you were hoping for, but worse yet, you could be setting yourself up for some serious injuries.
Let’s take a look at the issues revolving around squatting form so that you can make sure when you go into the gym, you get this right.
First, why squat in the first place? What makes this exercise so very effective?
To start, it very much mimics everyday movement. How often do you squat down during the day? Chances are quite frequently – every time you use the washroom in fact to give an illustration. By strengthening these muscles, you make everyday tasks that much easier.
Additionally, squatting is intense. It’s going to work the entire lower body as well as the muscles throughout the core all at once, meaning better strength gains, better size gains, and better fat loss. All musts for an effective workout.
Finally, squatting is also great cardiovascular conditioning. I challenge you do to a heavy set of squats and see if you aren’t breathing just as hard as you would be if you just did a wind sprint. So it provides dual benefits in the realm of both strength gains and cardiovascular improvement.
Where People Go Wrong…?
So where do people go wrong with the squat?
There are a number of problems that can occur.
First, they often lean too far forward as they squat down, causing excessive amounts of strain on the lower back. This is only going to set you up for chronic back pain down the road and take tension off the lower body muscles.
Another error is not letting the knees follow the path of the toes. They let their knees move inwards or outwards, causing a huge amount of intense sheer force and grinding to take place in their knee caps.
Problem three is not squatting down far enough. They go partway down the exercise, feel the intensity, and then decide to call it a day for that rep and press up to the start again.
Not good. If you want to reap full benefits, you need to do the full range of motion. This means squatting all the way down instead.
So as you can see, there is plenty of room for error with this exercise.
Let’s look at what you can do to get it right.
How To Get It Right…
In order to ensure that you are squatting properly and are going to be seeing the full benefits this exercise, it’s important to be aware of the main reasons for poor squatting techniques.
First you have tight calf muscles. If your calf muscles are very tight and tense, it will be very limiting to the range of motion you can move through, hence the reason for not going down the full way through the movement.
To help remedy this, be sure to perform calf stretches regularly. Most people never work their calves and because the calves are essentially working all throughout the day with every step you take, they are often quite tense.
Another issue that leads to poor form is simply not being practiced enough. People start up and load their body with weight the very first time they try to squat.
Begin by perfecting your form first. Once that’s perfect, then you can add more weight. If you don’t practice good form first before loading the body, your body is only going to take poor movement patterns and then these patterns will get ingrained in your memory as the way to execute the squat. Once those bad habits are in place, they become very hard to break free from.
In some cases, plain ignorance is the reason to blame. People simply aren’t aware of the right form or don’t want to learn better. They want to ‘get big’, so the only focus is adding more weight – whatever it takes.
In this case – they pile on the plates, often meaning form is sacrificed in the process.
Another reason for bad squatting form can be tight muscles or muscle imbalances all throughout the rest of the body as well. For instance, if the hamstrings are tight, it’s going to be harder to go the full way down the movement as well.
If the lower back is tight, this could be the reason you are adopting a greater forward lean than you should be.
Stretching out the full body on a regular basis and working to identify any potential muscle imbalances is the best route to get around this problem and make sure that you are going to be able to squat effectively.
Sometimes this may mean also performing additional strengthening exercises for those muscle groups that are weak and are preventing you from squatting as you should be.
So there you have the key facts to know about squatting technique. A good squat will have the body maintaining an upright position, going all the way down to the ground (or as close as possible) for full glute activation, and making sure that the knees are following the toes straightforward as the movement is executed.
Make sure you are taking the time to perfect your form to prevent injuries and see as much benefits as possible from this foundational exercise in your workout routine.
To Your Best Health
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