Squatting with good form is very important for improving your squat. If you are not able to do it correctly then you will have no chance of increasing your squat strength or power. The following are some tips which will help you improve your squat technique:
1) Do Not Overload Your Back!
If you want to increase your squat, then don’t go overboard with weight training. You need to stay within the safe limits of what’s safe for you. Too much weight training can cause injury if done too often.
2) Do Not Lower Your Shoulders During Squats!
You must keep your shoulders down during all your movements. If they are raised, then it will make them unstable and you won’t be able to maintain proper form when doing squats. When you lower your shoulder blades down, then the muscles in between them become unstable and may even collapse under their own weight.
So keep them down!
3) Do Not Push Up With Your Feet!
When you push up with your feet, then the arch of your foot becomes unstable and you cannot maintain proper form while doing squats. When you push up with your toes, then the arch of your foot remains stable but doesn’t move forward like when pushing up with your heels. This makes it easier for you to maintain correct form while doing squats.
4) Raise Your Heels!
When you squat with your heels down, then the calves in your feet become unstable and it becomes harder to maintain proper form while doing squats. Raising your heels makes it easier for you to maintain proper form while doing squats because your ankles and calves are now stable.
5) Do Not Lean Forward During Squats!
Do not lean forward during any of the parts of your squatting movement. If you lean forward during any part of the movement, then you cannot maintain proper form and your body becomes unstable which can lead to injury. So make sure that you don’t lean forward during any part of the movement.
6) Do Not Look At Your Feet!
Do not look at your feet when you are in the middle of doing a squat. If you look at your feet, then it will throw off your whole body position and make you lose your balance. So keep your eyes facing forward at all times during squatting.
7) Do Not Look At The Ceiling!
Do not look at the ceiling when you are in the middle of doing a squat. If you look at the ceiling, then it will throw off your whole body position and make you lose your balance. So keep your eyes facing forwards at all times during squatting.
8) Stay Focused!
One very important key to good form is being focused. You have to be thinking about the proper form of your squat at all times, and not letting anything else distract you from it. If you start to think about something else or get distracted then you will most likely lose your balance and this can cause injury if you are lifting heavy weight.
9) Comfortable Clothes Are A Must!
Wear clothes that are comfortable when you perform your squats. If you wear clothes that are uncomfortable, then it can cause excess stress on your body and this can lead to injury. So wear clothes that are comfortable when you perform your squats.
10) Keep A Straight Spine!
Keep a straight spine while you perform your squats. If you have a curved spine, then it can throw off your whole body position and make you lose your balance. So keep a straight spine while you perform your squats.
Do not wear clothing that restricts your movement or is too tight for the exercise. Wear clothing that fits you well and allows you to perform your squats without restriction.
10) Use Correct Form!
Make sure that when you are performing your squats that you are using correct form. Do not allow yourself to get sloppy with your technique or you may hurt yourself. Make sure that you are using the proper form at all times during your squats.
Mastering The Squat
The squat is a very important exercise because it strengthens the muscles of the legs and butts and gives flexibility to these areas. However, this is not a bodybuilding exercise and should not be treated as such. It is a general all-around exercise that anyone can benefit from doing.
To do your squats correctly you should have:
Feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Heels flat on the floor. Toes pointed slightly outward, never inward.
Knees over the toes at all times. Thighs at parallel with the floor or higher at the finish of the movement. Butts tightly clenched. Back straight and not curved like a banana. Shoulders pulled back. Head straight up, looking forward, not down.
Perform this exercise:
biceps and triceps
back and core (abs)
quads, hamstrings and glutes
Calves and shoulders to a lesser degree
Step 1: Get A Barbell And Plates
To begin the squat you need a barbell with weight plates on each end. The length of your barbell should be able to fit in your garage with the door closed.
You should do your squats in a room that is free of distractions so that you do not lose focus of what you are doing. Music may help you to get into the mood for your squat workout, but it may also be a distraction if you are looking down at your stereo and not paying attention to your form. If you can, listen to music without headphones.
If it is too long, you will not be able to do this exercise properly. If it is too short, you will not be able to perform this exercise properly. The weight plates that are on each end of the barbell should fit fingers in between them and the bar so you can move them around. A small amount of space between the bar and your fingers is fine, but no more than that.
Step 2: Place Barbell On Back
Grab the barbell by the ends with each hand and place it on your back. Make sure that the bar is resting firmly on your trapezius muscles (the triangle-shaped muscles between your neck and shoulders).
Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart or wider, with your toes pointing slightly outward. Your knees should be pointed forward and your thighs should be parallel with the floor at the bottom of the squat. The bar should be heavy enough that you can only do half of the maximum amount of repetitions you can do.
Step 2: Place The Barbell On The Ground
Now that you have your barbell and plates, place the barbell on the ground. If it is too long to fit in the room that you are going to perform your squat, then you will need to figure something out before moving on to step 3. Your knees should be over your toes at all times.
Your thighs should always be below the knees and your shoulders should be directly over your knees at all times. Your back should form a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles at all times.
Step 3: Bunch Skin Of Chest And Press Out With Shoulders
Using your hands, pull the loose skin on your chest taught and then press it out with you shoulders as you keep the skin pulled taught. A way to fix this problem is to try placing the barbell in the corner of two walls or against a piece of furniture that is large and heavy enough that it will not get pushed when you put pressure on it.
Step 3: Add Weight Plates
Now that your barbell is secure, you can start putting weight plates on each end. You may need a friend to help you place the weight plates on if it takes more than one hand. The bar should be sitting firmly on your trapezius muscles so you can place your hands on it properly.
When you are finished with your set, the bar will be very difficult to move. As a result, you will have to take a moment to rest and catch your breath before you are able to change the weights on each end of the barbell. You can also use your legs to push yourself back up which puts less stress on your shoulders.
Step 4: Grip Barbell And Back Out
Take a deep breath and grip the barbell just outside of your shoulders. Your hands should be facing forward. The bar will be sitting on your trapezius muscles, so you will not need to move it again until you are finished with your set.
Your lower back should be naturally arched and your legs should be straight, but not locked. Any knee or hip joint should be in a straight line with the ankle and the hip.
Step 5: Place Hands And Sit Back With Hips
Grip the bar just outside of your shoulders and place more of your weight on your heels instead of the middle of your feet. Your back should still be arched and not rounded. Sit back with your hips to slide your knees away from the bar.
The bar should stay in contact with your body as you make this movement.
Step 6: Place Feet Flat And Bend Knees
This step is all about you gaining flexibility. Put your feet flat on the ground and push your knees out as far as you can while sitting back at the same time. Your thighs should be at least parallel with the floor and your hips and shoulders should be lower than your knees.
Sources & references used in this article:
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Activation of the VMO and VL during dynamic mini-squat exercises with and without isometric hip adduction by JE Earl, RJ Schmitz, BL Arnold – Journal of electromyography and …, 2001 – Elsevier
Bilateral kinematic and kinetic analysis of the squat exercise after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction by GJ Salem, R Salinas, FV Harding – Archives of physical medicine and …, 2003 – Elsevier
Eccentric decline squat protocol offers superior results at 12 months compared with traditional eccentric protocol for patellar tendinopathy in volleyball players by MA Young, JL Cook, CR Purdam, ZS Kiss… – British journal of sports …, 2005 – bjsm.bmj.com
The effect of six weeks of squat, plyometric and squat-plyometric training on power production by K Adams, JP O’Shea, KL O’Shea… – Journal of applied sport …, 1992 – elitetrack.com
Acute effects of heavy-load exercises, stretching exercises, and heavy-load plus stretching exercises on squat jump and countermovement jump performance by JM González-Ravé, L Machado… – The Journal of …, 2009 – cdn.journals.lww.com