There’s no doubt about it, squats are one of the best exercises to work your glutes and tone your tush. Hip thrusters, splits, and deadlifts are great but when you get right down to it, squats are where it’s at.
The problem is squats are so easy to perform (I do them while brushing my teeth, no joke) that we often take for granted proper form. Add in weights and it’s absolutely vital to execute this move properly to avoid injury.
Squat til’ you drop with these five tips to ensure you’re squatting safely and getting the full benefits from the exercise.
5 Mistakes That Are Sabotaging Your Squat
- Not putting your weight in your heels. Heel placement and proper weight distribution is vital to executing a perfect squat. Avoid the tendency to let heels lift as you lower down (this could also be an indication that you’re lifting too much). Focus on lowering your weight into your heels, not away from them.
- Shallow squats. Last year we had an AMRAP team challenge for Thanksgiving. Each instructor had a group assigned to them and the team with the most reps won.
I remember squatting next to a girl who was pounding out shallow squats. Sadly she missed the point. Sure, she tallied up three times the squats of the rest of us (including the guys) but she was short changing herself from the benefits of the exercise. Takeaway: just because your legs start burning doesn’t mean you’ve reached your limit. A true squat means sitting all the way back, with thighs parallel to the floor. Quality beats quantity when it comes to this movement.
- Forgetting to engage your core. While squats are a lower body exercise that doesn’t mean you should ignore your core. Focus on engaging your stomach muscles as you lower down. Not only will this help you squat more weight it will also protect your lower back.
- Incorrect feet placement. To maximize stability and avoid injury feet should be placed between hip- shoulder distance apart. This gives you the optimum foundation to squat.
- Knee overhang. Letting your knees hang too far forward during a squat is hard on the joints. To execute a perfect squat knees should be directly over your ankles.
A perfect squat takes practice but it’s well worth the effort. At first, you may find using a mirror to track movements helpful. Remember, the girl in my Thanksgiving AMRAP challenge? Just because you call it a squat doesn’t mean you’re getting the full benefit from the exercise.
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