How to do proper squats

Squats are foundational functional movements in the human’s life. It’s probably one of the most natural positions. They are a compound movement – aka use more than one joint. The bodyweight squat uses almost all muscle groups of our bodies. You need not only your legs but also the hips, back, core, shoulders and arms. They strengthen the entire body, the bones and the muscles and also the flexibility.

Because they strengthen the hips and knees, they reduce the chance of injuring yourself in your daily life. They are also free and easy to do. But it’s important to do them properly.

Here’s how

Stand straight, keeping your feet at a distance slightly wider than the distance between your hips. Slightly point the toes outward – at about a 5-20-degrees angle outward.

Look straight ahead. Pick some point on the wall in front of you and keep your eyes fixed on in the entire time you are doing the squats. Don’t look down or up.

Put your arms straight in front of you, keeping them parallel to the ground. Your spine should be in a neutral position – don’t round the back and don’t hyper extend it.

The weight of your body should be on the heels and the balls of the feet. You should be able to wiggle the toes during the entire movement (although you won’t be doing that).

Keep the body tight throughout the entire exercise. Breathe in, break at the hip and push the butt back. Continue bringing the hips back as the
knees start to bend. Remember, you should start with the hips, not with bending the knees.
Keep the back straight. Keep the spine neutral. The chest and shoulders should be up.
Continue looking ahead to the point you’ve picked.

Keep the knees in line with the feet. Don’t push the knees out at the beginning. When they start coming inside the toes, then slightly push them out no wider than the feet.

Squat until the hip joint is lower than the knees.
Keep the body tight, breathe out, keep the balls of the feet on the ground and drive through the heels. Start driving the knees out. Squeeze the butt at the top to stimulate the glutes.

Common mistakes

One common mistake while doing squats is starting from the knees. Don’t begin the motion by bending the knees. This way you cannot squat properly but also put too much stress on your knees. Rather, start from the hips.
Another mistake is to let the knees go inward. This puts too much stress on them. While you are descending, slightly push the knees outward. Note, the knee caps should be faced to the same directions as the toes. The knees should be directly above the feet.
Be aware of your posture. Quite a common mistake is to hunch your back. Rather, instead of looking down, try looking straight ahead. Relax the shoulders and open the chest. Put the hands straight out in front of your body. If they fall towards the knees while you are squatting, this means you’ve rounded your back.

And the fourth most common mistake is to lift the heels off the floor. You should press the heels into the ground because this activates the proper muscles and ensures balance. Keep the heels on the ground. “Push” from the heels while getting up.

Most importantly

Don’t round the back. Look straight ahead.
Don’t start by bending at the knees but by moving the butt backward.
Keep the knees in line with the toes, not pointed inward.
Try reaching a position parallel to the ground.

 

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