The squat is one of the top movements incorporated in almost any form of exercise, from yoga, to weight training, to group fitness classes, you’ll likely end up performing some variation of the squat. Squatting is such a great exercise, as it activates multiple body parts, improves your posture and core strength, it is low impact so easy on the joints, and many other reasons.
If you aren’t doing squats correctly, it can hinder your progress and lead to injuries that could eventually knock you off of your exercise routine completely. We, as personal trainers, see people performing the squat incorrectly time and time again, and correcting their form is one of our top priorities here in the gym. We thought we would share some of the “rules” for maintaining proper form while squatting, so others who don’t have access to a personal trainer can also work on form correction.
Follow these guidelines, and get ready to master your squat!
1) If you aren’t getting parallel to the floor in the depth of your squat, use a bench or chair to give you a depth goal. If you end up actually falling into a seated position on the bench/chair because your legs aren’t quite strong enough to support you, practice going down slowly while resisting your weight, sitting if needed, and then pushing through your heels to stand back up.
2) Chest up, shoulders back through the whole motion. People tend to fold over at the waist as they feel sitting up will cause them to fall back. Try your best to keep your upper body vertical!
3) Weight mostly in your heels, no going onto toes. You typically want about 80% of your weight in your heels, and about 20% of your weight distributed throughout the rest of your foot.
4) Push hips back before going down, hinge hips forward at the top of the movement into a locked position. If you fail to push your hips back and just go straight down, more than likely you’ll end up on your toes. Also, locking out at the top of the movement helps take the pressure off of your lower back while you take your next breath before repeating the movement.
5) Take a deep breath in through your mouth and hold in your diaphragm through the entire movement(down and back up again), let the breath go once you’ve come back to the top in your locked position. Holding this breath in your diaphragm gives you more power. core and back stability.
6) Watch your knees. Be sure they aren’t coming together at any part of the movement. When you aren’t used to squatting, knees tend to want to come together rather than stay in their starting position. Push your knees apart if they begin to do this.
Hopefully some of these squat principles help you to master your squat! Happy squatting!