Saturday, February 23, 2013

Squats: How Low Can You Go?

Contrary to what you might think, this was not at all inspired by Ludacris' song. Okay, may be a little bit. A friend asked me this morning about proper squat form, and I thought about how many folks are doing the squat wrong without realizing it.

While it is very important to try to train your body to go as low as possible in your squats each time (think "Ass to the Grass"), it is more important to make sure you are working the right muscles as you are doing so. As we talk about what you should be doing right, let's focus on what it is that people may be doing wrong, shall we?

Buckling knees: When your hips muscles are tight, there is the tendency to put the pressure in your knees as you squat. This can be evidenced by your knees moving inwards when you are low. Pay close attention to your knees and make sure they are perpendicular to your ankles (there should be a straight line from your knees to your ankles).

Pushing forward: A lot of people go forward when they squat and so their knees come in front of their toes. You should be pushing back and basically just lowering down like you are about to sit. So your knees should not move, or move very minimally. All that should push back as you lower down are your hips and bum. Remember, your knees should be above your ankles, not past your toes. This may be difficult at first, so you can train your body by doing to with your back against a wall.

Falling forward with your upper body: In order to put the force into your lower half, your upper body should be as upright as possible. You can do this by looking forward and/or keeping your arms straight in front of you. Make sure your abs are tight to keep your back from curving. You can also do this by a wall to assist yourself.

It is okay to open your legs wider that hip-width, but as you get stronger, try to bring your feet closer and closer to work those hips more. Remember that your body has the tendency to put all the pressure in your knees as you train yourself to go lower. So just be aware of this, and keep pushing back. Try to go lower each time!

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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