Squats are possibly the most important exercise we do; some consider the squat the king of all exercises. WHY?
- It’s a functional exercise that will improve your ability to live a healthy life
- Everyday movements like getting in and out of a chair, bending down to pick something up, and many other motions rely on squat strength
- The squat uses a vast number of muscle groups, some of the biggest in the body, and therefore burns a large number of calories ultimately aiding in weight loss
SO why wouldn’t people want to do squats?! Maybe they find that squats hurt or are too difficult to do. Both pain and difficulty with squats directly relate to form and mobility. Without proper form the exercise WILL be painful and difficult because there is often too much pressure on certain parts of the body– like the knees or back. Form is extra hard to maintain for someone who has issues with mobility involving ankles, hips, or even shoulders. Let’s look at the key aspects to proper squat form and some common mistakes and how they can be corrected.
Proper Squat Form
- Feet shoulder width apart
- Chest out, shoulders back
- Weight stays on the heels
- Back flat
- Reach back with the hips
- Knees stay behind toes
- Lower your body until the top of your thigh is parallel with the ground
Check out your squat position in a mirror. Are you making any of the following mistakes?
1. Knees Over Toes
This mistake is caused by tight hips and may cause the knee pain that some people experience with squats.Correct this by performing hip mobility exercises and only lowering as far as you are able to keep good form. Focus on reaching back with the hips while keeping your weight on the heels of your feet.
2. Excessive Hip Bend
When someone is drastically bent at the hips it is because of poor ankle mobility. To fix this, perform ankle mobility exercises. Until ankle mobility is improved perform squats with your ankles elevated in order to maintain good form. When this mistake goes uncorrected it can cause low back pain.
3. Weight On Toes, Heels Raised Off Ground
This compensation is caused by both tight ankles and hips. Correct this by performing the suggestions in the two previous mistakes. This problem is sure to cause knee pan if uncorrected.
4. Shoulders Rounded
This poor positioning is caused by tight chest and shoulder muscle, while also having weak upper back muscles. In order to correct this, perform pec mobility exercises and strengthening exercises like reverse fly or external rotation at the shoulder. This positioning can cause back pain.
5. Excessive Arch In Back
This situation is cause by not locking in the core for each rep. To correct this, focus on engaging the abdominals for each rep and perform core stability exercises. This positioning can cause low back pain.
6. Knees Caving In
This problem is caused by not properly engaging the hips. While performing the squat, focus on engaging your glutes while pushing your knees out to the sides in order to correct this problem. This situation can cause knee pain.
Squats really are one of the best exercises for you! Use these simple tips to begin squatting pain-free with great mobility, gaining loads of muscle and burning fat! Get out there, grab some weight, and get low!