A squat is a strength training exercise working on glutes, hamstring, calves, and quad muscles and includes the hip, knee, and ankle joint. It is one of the best exercises for leg strength, building muscle in the lower body, and strengthening the core. Literally an entire encyclopedia can be written about the benefits of squatting and proper squat form. We will try to provide a simple squat guide that is simple and easy to digest.
It makes your legs strong working on each muscle, which is mentioned above. This is one of the most important and basic exercises. But when not done right it can cause serious damage. So today we are going to know the basics. Fellas, its time to make some workout clothes drenched.
Following is a step by step guide to executing a proper squat in a few simple steps. Let’s get started.
Getting Into Position
First thing is to get in the right position, no matter the type of squat you are going to do. Your squat form is the most important aspect to master before worrying about how much weight you can lift. If you feel like you can’t get your form quite right, there are many resources and tips out there to fix your squat form.
Plant your feet well, stand straight, hold the weights firmly, point chest outward and shoulders back. If you are doing it with a bar on your traps, support it with palms keeping the elbows down. Your back can be a little arched with pelvis forward.
Set Your Stance
Just make sure you are standing strong, take a step back or two. Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, toes should be pointing forward or you can point slightly outwards whichever is more comfortable. You may have to adjust your squat stance depending on the type of squat you are performing – eg. powerlifting, bodybuilding, sumo stance, etc… Take a deep breath and make yourself ready.
Brace Your Core
Start by inhaling deeply. Then start lifting the weight from the rack, contract the abdominal muscles, look straight ahead, and brace yourself. Focus on sending your elbows back, chest and chin straight ahead. Some athletes prefer to keep their chin slightly elevated.
Don’t start yet but find a focus point in front of you, at eye level or slightly higher, to help keep you focused.
Start bending your knees slowly as you extend or bend the hips backward. The knees should stay in line with the toes, don’t bend them inward or outward too much. Squat directly downwards. Your back will incline a little but it should either be nearly vertical or just slightly arched forward.
Try not to lean forward. Your weights should travel a vertical path going down and coming up. The back and your chest should be tight. Try going down as much as you can, it differs from person to person. Try holding your breath during the ascension, exhaling at the top.
After you are as low as you can go its time to get back up. Using your hamstrings, quads, hips, and glutes, press up and extend your hips to straighten your legs, slowly returning to the initial standing position. Exhale, catch a breath, and squat again.
Keep your form, focus on maintaining it properly throughout the exercise. start with lightweights and progress slowly when it feels like. You may keep a spotter to help but with just the last few reps. If the weights feel too much maybe consider lifting light. Do be too flashy flash, keep it normal paced and in perfect form. Use the safety arms if there is no spotter.
You may start with bodyweight squats and then try other bodyweight variations like walking squat, plie squat, heel raises, squat kickback, frog squat, 3-way jump squat, side leg lift squat, squat jumps, and sidestep squat. Don’t avoid squats you will thank us for the time you have spent sweating in your workout clothes doing squats.
These are the most common mistake you are likely to make. Lack of tightness during lift-off, heels coming off the floor, exaggerated knees-forward movement, knees moving inward, sitting on the thighs instead of between them, asymmetric lift-off, ballerina lift-of (i.e. lifting the heels to lift the weight off the rack), squatting just a halfway, and asymmetrical bar placement. Paying close attention to avoid these mistakes, will go a long way to keeping your ankles, knees, and hips healthy throughout your training career.