How To Squat Properly
Why should you learn to squat?
The squat is one of the best functional exercises that there is. Squating is such a natural movement that we are born to do but as we get older we lose the range of motion required to perform this exercise.
We lose the range of motion for many different reasons. Sitting down most of the day at school, college, university and eventually work. Squatting is a movement that we gradually unlearn over time.
How To Squat Properly?
So with that in mind how do you squat? Well, for some people you may have to learn from scratch. This will require you to do various strengthening exercises and stretching to gain the range of motion, leg strength and core strength necessary to squat.
Squatting is generally a bit more easier for women then it is for men. Women having loser tendons and wider hips due to the fact that they are designed to give birth. In general women are more flexible then men.
Different squat exercises
Squatting is one of the most effective ways to train the body. It is a compound exercise, which means it works many muscle groups together.
You will work the core, bum, front and back of your legs in one gross movement. Because of this it is one of the best exercises to use to lose weight due to the calories you burn, but it can also be performed to build muscle due to large release of growth hormone and testosterone (hormones) produced by the large muscle mass.
Despite the many applications for the squat many people perform the squat poorly. In this article we are going to explore the three different squats, the over head squat, back squat and front squat.
We will than explore some of the key principles of the squat, which are squat depth, body alignment, posture.
Many people get the start position wrong on this squat. You should always maintain ideal alignment of your spine throughout the movement. This is best achieved by maintaining a proud arm position (See figure 1)
In figure 2 you will see that the wrist is straight compared to figure 3. This is to avoid placing the stress of a heavy bar through such a small joint like your wrist.
The elbow must also be pointed backwards and squeezed together with the head upright, as soon as this is done it causes the back to maintain a small roundness in the lower back known as a lordosis, which is the backs natural curve.
The bar must rest level with the shoulder blades, and below the prominent bony part of your neck.
Your hand position must be narrow because this causes the muscles in your upper back tense up, this provides a natural cushioning for the bar.
Try this arm position for yourself without a bar, I see to many people in gyms using Velcro cushioning support when there is no need too. It’s because they have their arms to wide.
Lastly, squat depth, figure…. Shows how low you should go into your squat and the alignment of your body.
If your not going as low as this your wasting your time, it is like doing half bicep curls, rather than working through the full range of motion (although there a lot of guys who that anyway).
Notice how the bars alignment is slightly in front of the ankle.
Due to position of the bar this squat places more work on the front of your legs. When first attempting this squat start with a broom handle and then progress to an Olympic bar.
The bar begins in the overhead position in line with your ears, with your arms fully extended. You begin the movement by lowering your body under control to the floor.
This movement requires great flexibility in your back, shoulders, chest, ankles, hips as well good core strength.
The heels of your feet must not remain on the ground at all times. Also, the chest position must remain proud as demonstrated above
There are two ways to do the front squat depending on what you want to gain from it. If you want to one day be able to or have the option to do the clean than I suggest figure 1.
The reason why many people go for the second option is a lack of flexibility. Like in the back squat you want to make sure your chest is up and your head is upright. You need a lot of flexibilt
The first picture with the person in an upright position represents the end position of a front squat. You can see that the body is upright, if your not in this body position than the weight is too light or you lack the flexibility in your hips to maintain a correct position.
In this video I demonstrate what is the correct form and posture to do a squat perfectly. I explain how to:
- Activate the core
- What the correct depth for a squat is
- The correct head position for a squat
- How to use your arms to maintain a neutral spine
- What is the best foot position
After watching this video you will know exactly what you need to do to perform the perfect squat. You may also like to learn other great exercises for the glutes.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.
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