The squat. It’s a staple in a lot of people’s programs, and a lot of times it’s done with improper form. To coach the squat is also a lot harder than it seems. Here are 5 cues to think of, to keep your squat clean, healthy, and beneficial.
1. Hips Back.
A lot of people have a tendency to initiate motion with the knees, causing a lot of sheer pressure on the knee, ultimately causing a lot of pain. If you think of moving with hip, sitting back in a chair, you will not only find the exercise more challenging, but it will be a lot easier on the joints.
2. Elbows in the back pocket.
Throughout the squatting motion, people have a tendency to get a lot of forward trunk flexion, and their chest ends up facing the ground at the bottom of the motion. This can be really bad for the back, as well as be a good set-up for a total face plant to the ground. By creating a “shelf” on your upper back and driving your elbows into your pack pockets you force good scapular retraction, and a big chest. This is a healthy position for the torso.
3. Spread the floor.
The glutes are one of the strongest muscles in the body. However, not a lot of people know how to activate their glutes, especially in a squat. By thinking of spreading the floor with your feet, and “ripping a piece of paper” you will force your glutes to activate, thus putting more force into the ground, resulting in a stronger lift.
4. Push your knees out
This is more common in females, but can happen to anyone. When you lower down in a squat, if you are weak in certain areas, your knees will want to cave in, causing what we call valgus force. This, similar to knees going forward, puts a lot of pressure on the inside of your knees. It is more common in females because they have a bigger Q angle (wider hips), and the knees really want to cave in. If you think of pushing your knees out, it will take that pressure off.
5. Stop Squatting
The squat is a very popular exercise, but not everyone is cut out to squat. Whether it be upper back mobility, core strength, or poor hip and ankle mobility, not everyone is designed to throw a barbell on their back. I suggest you get assessed by a professional first, and start off basic with something like a goblet squat, before progressing to a barbell squat.
Do you squat? Do you have any questions on form, or what you should do instead? Let’s connect on Facebook.