How to Squat
How to Squat
The Squat is a lower-body exercise. You can do the bodyweight version, without added resistance (also called Bodyweight Squat or Air Squat), or with weights such as a barbell (Front Squat and Back Squat are variations of the Barbell Squat).
The Squat exercise mainly targets the thighs (quadriceps & hamstrings) and the glutes. However, core strength & stability, ankle mobility, back muscles, calves, and other factors play an important role when you are doing this exercise.
SET UP BEFORE YOU SQUAT:
Find a foot stance that feels best for you. Pointing your toes slightly outwards helps some, but keeping them parallel is fine, too. If you’re not sure what’s best, start by putting your feet shoulder-width apart and pointed about 15 degrees outwards.
Tense your abs like someone is about to punch you.
Look straight ahead and stand tall!
Check your form:
Sit back – make sure to move your butt backward, don’t just bend your knees
Be careful to keep your knees in line with your toes, don’t let them cave-in
Don’t forget about your upper body – look straight ahead and don’t round your back
WHAT TO WATCH OUT FOR:
Fix it: Improve hip, ankle, and spinal mobility, as well as core strength.
This occurs when a combination of inflexible joints and weak core muscles prevent you from holding yourself upright in a deep squat. Your hips and ankles don’t allow for a large enough range of motion, while your core (abdominals and back muscles) can’t support your spine. Weak glute muscles may also cause you to lean forward.
To fix a forward lean, you’ll need to improve mobility in your hips, ankles, and spine, as well as increase your core strength.
Heels come off the ground
Fix it: Improve ankle and hip mobility.
If you cannot keep your feet flat on the ground during a squat, that’s another common sign of limited mobility, particularly in the ankles. Hip mobility and spinal mobility limitations can also contribute to your heels rising off of the ground.
To fix this common squat mistake, spend a lot of time on your ankle mobility, but don’t neglect your other joints. When it comes to squatting, optimal mobility in all joints (even your upper body) plus great core strength leads to a faultless form.
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