I mention it a lot, I will continue to mention it because it is such an important exercise, squatting works and helps you build a great body. For those of you that don't know, when you squat a number of things happen to you like, increase of hormone release, improved muscular strength/tone in the leg, bum and stomach area, improved digestive system functioning and more. When you squat it doesn't just hit you externally as you can see, internally you are making great changes too. As you can see the squat is a great exercise to perform weekly, however some of you may be doing it wrong, so here are some quick fire tips to make sure you are doing it right!!
When you squat for the safety of your knees and keeping balance, make sure you take the weight through your heels and keep them planted on the floor at all times. Keeping the weight back and in your heels prevents any issues with your knees later on.
Stomach Pulled In
The squat is a powerful exercise which puts strain on your body, especially the lower back (but in a good way). So keep your stomach muscles and core tight (draw in your belly button) so that you engage your TVA which acts like a weight belt around your wasitline. This will keep you strong and supported during every single repetition you perform.
Keep It Natural
The movement should be natural in a squat and therefore you should have a slight arch in your back.
What you look at is really important during a squat so try not to admire the girl or guy that has caught your eye, stay focused on the job at hand. Looking straight ahead or even up at the ceiling when you are pushing for each rep is advised and will help you through those tough sets.
When it comes to the squat, make sure your bum is pushed back slightly which will also tilt the hips and allow you to sink into a nice, deep squat. Think of a duck when it goes 'bottoms up' in the pond, you want to try and stick your bottom out too so that you keep your spine in neutral.
No Roller Needed
So many of you will use a foam roller to pad the bar and make it feel nicer for your shoulders and upper back, however sometimes this just pushes you forward and isn't good for your posture. Ideally you want to tense your upper back and trapezius muscles so that you allow the bar to have some 'natural' cushioning. Sure, you might feel it a bit more, but over time you will get used to it and it will feel like second nature.
When holding the bar, keep your hands shoulder width apart and the elbows pointing towards the floor, this will help your balance the weight properly.
Keep your knees tracking over your feet and watch they don't drift in or out when pushing the weight. Try to make sure the knees don't go over your toes either as this can cause problems and we all know how delicate the knee joint is.
THAT IS IT! Try and take a few of these pointers on board and you will see your squat increase, body change quicker and you will generally feel happier with how your progress is going! Squat til you Drop ;)