Your squat form can have a lot to do with the benefit you gain from the lift or if you are potentially setting yourself up for injury. Pain experienced in the knees after completing a training routine including squatting exercises does not mean that the exercise itself as suggested by many self-claimed professionals is in fact bad for one's health. Actually, many of these squat exercises have been given a bad reputation as being the cause for hip, knee and lower back problems experienced by many training individuals today.
Top Tips to Have the Best Squat Form Technique
It has however been discovered by several professional weight lifters and bodybuilders that the squat form used in performing the exercise rather than the exercise is the sole reason for the pain and discomfort felt and often related injury when training using the squat exercise.
The squat, though a highly efficient and excellent exercise for strengthening the knees as hips is rarely and often poorly understood by many individuals resulting in several training individuals performing the exercise without recognizing the correct form; much to their disadvantage.
Squat lifting mistakes
- Some of the more common mistakes performed by individuals during their strength training is observed when users place excessive weight on the toes often resulting in the body positioned in a forward direction as the user remains unaware on the correct procedure to effectively distribute their body weight.
- Moving the knees forward while squatting is another mistake experienced by training individuals which is often the result when using much heavier weights causing the quadriceps to overcompensate for the lack of support from the hips, hamstrings and trunk stabilizers.
- When the hamstrings, gluteus and core strength are weak, the lower back muscles often are called upon to do the majority of the work. This stressing of the quadriceps and lower back muscles is viewed as one of the main causes experienced knee pain during the squatting exercise.
- Underdeveloped abdominal and hip muscles necessary in assisting the user to maintain the proper technique are also additional factors resulting in lower back and knee pain.
- When the torso is observed to collapse at too forward an angle, it is a strong indication that the individual does not possess the core strength required to perform the exercise effectively forcing the overcompensation by the lower back and quadricep.
Other precautions to keep in mind
When performing the squat, there are several precautions that should always be maintained to minimize any possibility of injury to the individual.
- One such precaution is not wearing a lifting belt. This is highly important when performing the squat as the lifting belt serves as a method used by bodybuilders and fitness trainers to maintain a proper alignment of the back with the rest of the body which deprives the human body from developing this natural ability on its own.
- When preparing to perform the squat exercise, it is important the individual take the necessary time to complete an active warm up exercise thus elevating the heart rate and blood flow before the exercise.
- Beginners are often urged to initiate their strength training workout squatting with a weightless barbell while learning the correct form, then gradually increasing the required weights in accordance to their weight limits.
The Proper Squat Form
Maintaining the proper form of the squat exercise is key to the effectiveness of the training exercise.
- ensure both feet are planted securely against the floor and at shoulder-width apart.
- The individual should position themselves below the bar slightly bending the knees. It is extremely important that an equal weight distribution is accomplished throughout the duration of the squat exercise.
- Both feet should be positioned pointing slightly outward and never forward.
- The bar should be placed just over the trapezius muscle and across the back of the shoulders never over the neck.
- When a comfortable position is achieved the bar is firmly gripped using both hands raising the barbell off the rack taking a step forward.
- Maintaining a line of sight looking straight ahead the individual begins by bending the knees keeping both heels firmly against the floor simulating the motion as though the person is about to sit on a chair positioned behind them while ensuring the quadriceps are positioned parallel to the floor. This allows the weight to be evenly distributed on the upper thighs and balls of the heels of both feet.
- Without sticking the butt out, the hips are thrust in an upward direction maintaining a neutral position of the lower back. This motion should be performed by pushing up from the heels while lifting the weights used, while maintaining a proper form using almost every part of the body except the knees.
- The entire body should be tightened while performing the exercise allowing the body to manage the weight used.
By using this proper technique for squatting the individual is guaranteed the muscle growth and core strength development associated with this form of strength training exercise without experiencing any form of physical injury or discomfort.