How To Do Squats Correctly – Avoid Common Mistakes
Squat is one of the most important exercises to pack on some serious size and strength as well as improve athletic performance. But it’s crucial to know how to do squats correctly with proper technique since you’re putting yourself under heavy loads that will task more or less your whole body.
Lot of beginners are intimidated by the squat since when you start doing them you’ll compare yourself to the stronger guys who move ridicilous amounts of weight when squatting. But once you hammer the technique down you might be surprised how fast you can progress on this lift.
Most Common Mistakes
Half Squatting – Like mentioned above comparing yourself to the stronger guys by ego lifting is quite common in gyms. Usually the most common scenario is Half Squatting. It’s easy to load the bar with 4 plates of 45’s and start half squatting BUT you’ll be doing a huge mistake since squatting this way you will not experience any of the amazing benefits this lift has to offer.
But there are some guys and girls who try to perform regular squats but they try to keep their torso too upright and never bend at the hips and this results as a half squat.
Often times people try to explain that they cannot do normal squats because of their bad knees or back. This is usually complete BS and to be honest if that is the case you’re better off by not doing the half squats at all. The only time half squats are usable is when you’re getting used to heavier weights that you cannot normally squat BUT even then high box squats serve this puprose way better.
Over Exaggeration Of Breaking At The Hips – This results a really awkward position from the mid and lower part of the lift. This results in upper back rolling forward and lower back rounding, probably the worst kind of mistake one can do with the squat. Basically you’re trying to squat with minimal bending of your knees.
So let’s look at how you can prevent both of these issues along with many other more minor mistakes.
How To Squat With Proper Form
#1 Upper Back Tight – Probably the most important part when you want to squat in the best manner possible. Keeping your upper back tight will ensure that your lower back will not round and your upper back will not collapse forward. Your upper back should be as tight as possible throughout the movement. A good way to ensure upper back tightness is to point your elbows DOWN and not flared out. This will squeeze your shoulder blades against your back and that will ensure that the back stays tight. Also another good cue would be to PULL your elbows down not just point them down this will create more tensions to your upper back.
#2 Break At Knees – This is simply the only way to avoid lower back rounding. You have to first break at the knees and after that sit back to initiate the squat. But now you might encounter a new problem since when you’re upper back is tight and you break at the knees and after that sit back, your knees are too far forward. This results in strain on the knees and prevent you hitting the best depth possible and make the squat uncomfortable. So there is a simple fix to this at part #3…
#3 Open Up The Hips – By opening up your hips you’ll minimize the knee travel and can comrotably sit down to the correct depth. Even though opening up the hips sounds fancy it’s really straight forward, just point your toes out a bit more and widen your stance. This will allow your your knees to track out and forward. This will allow your glutes and hamstrings do the work while keeping the back straight. There is not a one angle and stance works for everybody you have to test it out and see what feels the best for you.
Squat is one of the best overall exercises to do and offers huge benefits to virtually everyone. With the proper technique they not only give you ridiculous strength but develop your core and promote natural posture. Start squatting with the guides outlined above and you’ll be golden.
But like mentioned earlier as with every exercise you have to try and experiment which kind of stance width and grip width works best for your individual body type and strength. But as a general rule start with shoulder width grip and shoulder width stance and adjust accordingly.
Let’s check the main points once again:
- Keep upper back tight!!
- Break at knees
- Open up hips by turning toes sligthly outside (try different angles and see what works best for you)
- Shoulder width stance (again experiment with this and see what works for you)
- Shoulder width grip
- Hammer down the proper technique before going heavy
That’s all there really is to it people. Check out my comprehensive article on how to build muscle for beginners HERE!
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Remember to train hard and train SMART!