Please squat correctly if you are going to squat at all.
Squats and deadlifts are the most productive of all strength training exercises. The price of productivity, however, is danger. If you do not do them with perfect exercise technique, you may hurt yourself.
Sometimes, too, trainees think they are doing them correctly when they are not. This, too, can lead to injuries and set back your training.
So here are 21 tips about how to squat correctly. If you are going to enjoy the maximum benefits from doing squats, following all of them is important.
It may seem like a lot to learn – and it is! Strength training is an excellent hobby in part because it is so interesting. There’s always more to learn.
Please don’t be impatient. It takes time to become a master strength trainer. Stay humble, keep an open mind, and enjoy the process.
Always, leave your ego at the gym door. You are there to bring out the best in you. You are not there to compete with anyone else. Instead of trying to rush or force a result you want, work with your body to improve one step at a time.
Always pay attention and think safety: always alert, never get hurt.
1. Never bounce off the bottom of a squat. To squat correctly, never use momentum at the bottom.
2. Never go more than about an inch below the point where the tops of your thighs are parallel to the ground. This will help you to avoid bouncing off the bottom of a squat or rounding your back.
3. Never round your back. To squat correctly, always keep your back tightly arched throughout the movement. There should be a slight hollow in your lower back. Also, keep your upper back tight with your shoulder blades pulled back and your chest pushed out.
4. Never squat with a board under your heels or use shoes or boots with thick heels. Instead, increase your flexibility until you are able to squat correctly. It’s fine to squat barefoot; otherwise, use shoes or slippers with only a minimal heel.
5. Never raise your hips from the bottom before raising the bar or move the bar forward before you move it up; otherwise, you will lean forward too far and put too much pressure on your lower back. The taller you are, the more forward lean you’ll tend to have. To squat correctly, don’t raise your hips faster than your shoulders.
6. Never squat with your knees close together. Instead, to squat correctly keep your knees at either a medium or wide distance apart. Push them outwards throughout the whole range of motion.
7. Never squat with your toes pointed forward so that your feet are parallel to each other. Instead, keep your toes pointed out at least 20 degrees. It’s fine to keep them pointed in the same line as your upper legs (unless that happens to stress your knees too much).
8. Do not descend straight down. Instead, sit back and down, almost as if you were going to sit on a living room sofa or chair.
9. Never look down. Look forward or up while keeping your eyes focused on one spot. Keep your chin parallel to the floor.
10. Do not keep the weight on the balls of your feet. Instead, to squat correctly, keep most of the weight on your heels, especially as you begin to ascend.
11. Never pick the bar off the rack unless your hips are directly under the bar.
12. When you finish your set, shuffle your feet forward until the bar is over the pins or stands. Do not walk forward by raising one foot off the ground.
13. Before racking the bar after your set, ensure that the bar is over the pins or stands and that your fingers are not in the way before bending your knees to set it down.
14. Don’t squat without wearing a dry (not sweaty) shirt.
15. Although it is not necessary, it’s a good idea to use rosin or chalk on your hands before a work set. You may also have someone apply it to the back of your shirt where the bar will rest.
16. Never turn your head while squatting.
17. Never do (any kind of) deadlifts before squats.
18. Never squat if you have any DOMS [delayed onset muscular soreness] from a previous workout or from hard physical labor. Wait at least one day after all DOMS has disappeared before squatting.
19. If you use a lifting belt (and it is not required), inhale before descending and push your belly hard against the best. Exhale as your ascend.
20. When doing two or more reps, do not ascend all the way to the top. To squat correctly, keep the tension on the muscles you are working by keeping at least a slight bend in your knees.
21. Never squat in a Smith machine [click here for more on this].
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May you squat safely and productively until your dotage!