What is proper squat form and the benefits of this workout.
When working out, whether it be in a fitness center in Clearwater or at home, you will likely be doing different workouts to target various areas in your body. As you go through your fitness journey, you will learn about different muscles and the right exercises to work them effectively. Without a doubt, one of the most basic yet most effective exercises you can do is the squat. This exercise can work your glutes, butt, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves, making it such a dynamic move to include in any of your workouts.
Squats may seem simple to execute at first but following the proper squat form is much harder than it sounds, especially if you are a beginner. Kickstarting your fitness journey can be one of the most life-changing steps you take for your overall health and well-being, but it is understandable if you feel intimidated by it. That said, as you go through your journey and learn more about exercises, different squat variations will certainly become a staple in all your workouts.
The big question now is: How do you execute the proper squat form? Learn about the right technique when doing this move, along with the common mistakes that people often make with them.
Proper Squat Form
Knowing how to do your squats properly will ensure that you work the right muscles and prevent straining any area or causing injuries. Take note of the following steps and reminders to learn how to squat correctly and get the most benefit out of your workout:
- To start, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart, with your toes facing the front.
- Pull your shoulders back and lift your chest as you bend your knees and ankles and pull your navel back to engage and tighten your core.
- While keeping your upper body straight, lower down as if you were sitting on an invisible chair. Your torso may tilt naturally, but make sure to keep your shoulders back and chest up. It will also be harmful if you force your upper body to be too rigid or erect as this can strain your knees, so go as low as you can without tilting your upper body too much. Another important tip is to keep your knees in line with your toes and prevent them from going past your toes. Additionally, stretching your arms out can give you extra balance when doing the squat.
- As you go back up to your starting position, straighten your legs until you are standing. Avoid locking your knees and keep your heels stuck to the ground to work your glutes effectively.
- Depending on your workout, perform the squat for 10 to 15 reps or until failure.
Common Mistakes When Doing Squats
Squats are considered to be compound exercises since they work multiple muscle groups at a time. While they are focused on your leg muscles and hip flexors, they also work your abdominal muscles to maintain balance and bear your body weight. Likewise, if you throw in a weight like a dumbbell or kettlebell while squatting, you are also working your upper body. Indeed, there are tons of squat variations you can do, making them such a go-to exercise.
No matter what squat you do, following the proper squat form as explained above is essential. To ensure you do this, take note of the common mistakes that people may unconsciously do, so you can avoid them as best as you can:
One common mistake is allowing your knees to go far beyond your toes, which can cause added knee stress. As much as possible, try to keep your knees in line with your toes, while still permitting movement to avoid causing strain on your hips.
Ignoring the Core
Squats are often assumed to be leg exercises alone, so most of the focus tends to be placed on the leg muscles or buttocks. Engaging your core, however, is crucial as you lower down into the squat position. Your core serves as a stabilizer to give you more power and help you keep your balance.
When doing a squat, try to stay upright as best as you can. The common analogy is as if you were sitting on a chair, so avoid leaning forward as much as possible. Keep your back straight, shoulders back, and chest out. You can lean forward the slightest, but do not go lower if you are already leaning forward too much.