A lot of people will argue squats are the King of Exercises – and for good reason. Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core – everybody has to contribute during heavy squats.
When done properly, squats are fantastic exercise. We absolutely love squats, and it pains us to see them butchered. We want everyone everywhere to have a pretty squat. That means you, too.
These 5 corrections will help you gain admission into the “Pretty Squat Club”. It’s an elite club – you know you want to be a member!
Bracing is critical, but bracing doesn’t mean chest up and butt back!
- Fill your lungs (you can’t fill your lungs without your chest expanding) while maintaining a neutral spine.
- Push against your abdominal wall, back and pelvic floor simultaneously – try to create as much pressure as possible in your abdominal cavity – in all three directions. Don’t suck in your stomach!
2. LEADING WITH YOUR KNEES
Squats are a knee dominant exercise, but that doesn’t mean that you initiate the squat by only bending your knees. Your knees should start to drift in front of your toes as you get close to parallel – not before.
- Unlock your knees and slide your hips back simultaneously. Unlock means just that – unlock your knees, don’t bend them excessively.
3. LEADING WITH YOUR HIPS
Knees locked, butt back is a great way to aggravate your lumbar… and who needs that!?
- Unlock your knees and slide your hips back simultaneously. This should be ONE fluid movement, not two separate movements.
4. SHIFTING FORWARD
Your knees will be slightly in front of your toes at the bottom of a squat (assuming a full range of motion).
- When you begin your ascent, slide your hips back slightly. You need to continue to push your hips back as you stand – once you’re at or above parallel, your shins should be close to vertical again. Again this should be one fluid motion – it shouldn’t be choppy!
5. HIPS NOT UNDER THE BAR
This one can go either direction. Some lifters don’t finish the movement, leaving their hips behind the bar at the top. Others exaggerate the top end, squeezing their glutes and shifting their hips in front of the bar.
- Your hips should be under the bar when you unrack it and when you complete the movement
- Stand normally at the top. You should feel like your skeleton is supporting the weight at the start and finish.