Hi guys! In this article, I’m going to show you guys how to do a squat properly. Yes! The squat is one of those awesome, full-body exercises that target your legs, your abdominals, even your upper body muscles, and I’m going to show you how to do it. It is the number one leg exercise, but you have to pay attention to some important things to do it right.
Let’s start with the right body position for the squat.
Body position to do a squat properly
Lots of rumors are about the death of the squat. If you want to preserve your joints and work all possible angles to avoid an uneven load for the joint surfaces then go all the way down.
Be careful to not fall into the lowest position with the least knee angle but take it controlled and slowly especially in the beginning.
If you stop the negative movement at a 90-degree angle you will generate the highest shearing force, the highest pressure on the inside of your patella, and the most stress to your knee.
On the other hand, doing Ass to grass squats also improves your mobility a lot. How deep you should actually go depends on your hip anatomy, you’re old and acute injuries, and your sport.
But it’s not only about the amplitude but also about the rep speed to do a squat properly.
Rep speed to be taken care
If you start training the squat you should start with a slow rep speed like about 5/0/5/0 and the low intensity. Then you can increase both slowly as you progress and learn to execute a clean technique.
Foot position to do a squat properly
The next important thing is the position of your feet to do a squat properly. If you learn the squat technique pay attention to a stable foot and place them as far apart and rotate it as you feel comfortable with.
The width and the amount of outward rotation depend on your hip anatomy anti-sport. You can do the hip socket test to find out what fits best for you.
If the articular cavities of your thighs tend to be turned more forward than the smallest and with less outward rotation will be better for you. If the sockets are turned outward a bit more, you should be more comfortable with the wider stand and further outward rotated feet.
By doing so you also have to open the angle between your thighs to let your joints move on a straight line and keep the axis of your knees right without collapsing to the inside.
Let your knee point toward your second or third toe.
Knee position to do a squat properly
Now, what about the knees? Move them in front or keep them behind your toes. In order to keep your back straight and upward, you have no other choice than to move your knees in front of your toes and it’s not a problem for a healthy knee.
If you are a powerlifter you might think about keeping your knees a bit closer than or behind your toes in order to be able to move the highest possible load, but then you have higher stress on your back especially the lower spine and your hips.
Back and head position to do a squat properly
Like I mentioned, you should keep your back as physiological and upward as possible, especially when the intensity increases.
Keep your complete bag on the tension and extended, work towards retracted and depressed shoulder plates and keep the tension in your core.
You should never let your lumbar and thoracic spine collapse to avoid injuries from shearing forces. With that said you should also keep your head in a neutral position and look slightly upward with your eyes.
Avoid extending and flex your cervical spine forward or lateral because this can cause an uneven compression of your discs with a restriction of your full strength output.
Also, pay attention to your breathing. Don’t press your breathe but keep your teeth closed, press your tongue against the teeth and breathe powerful against this resistance.
This would let your core muscles contract reflective and improve the stability and power output.
Warm-up and mobility
Now if you want to start practicing your squat you should always be fresh-minded and start with a good warm-up and mobility work.
Bring your heart rate up a bit, start moving and mobilizing the most important joints which are your ankles, wrists, thoracic and cervical spine.
After that also prepare your knees, hips, vertebral joints, shoulders, and arms in order to be able to engage your full potential and to do a squat properly.
Bodyweight variations vs weighted squats
Now let’s talk about the big question: Is it possible to train your legs with bodyweight only? It depends. On what? On your goals. If you only want to keep your legs fit and do some balancing work then bodyweight squats and lunges will be fine.
But if you want to boost your strength and explosiveness or maximize your muscle mass there’s no way to not use additional weights. Why? Because you need a specific intensity in order to reach goals and adaptations like that.
Bodyweight squats are limited to pistols as the variation with the highest intensity.
The specific differences of weighted squats:
With a bar you can do high bar position and low ball position squats.
High bar position:
A high bar position means that you put the bar on top of the middle trapezius in the whole of the supraspinatus tendon and below the seven cervical body which allows a more upper thoracic spine position and is connected with more forward-moving knees.
Low bar position:
The low bar position requires a more forward leaned upper body and avoids fall forward-moving needs. For that, you have to put the bar about five to eight centimeters lower about at the middle of the middle trapezius.
In the high bar position, you should place your elbows underneath your wrists on the wide axis as well as on the def axis. In the low bar position, it’s the same but you move your elbows a little bit backward on the wide axis.
For both positions, you should straighten your wrists and grab the bar with the thumbs around the bar. Avoid the false grip to grab the bar safely or it might slip down You might notice that this position alone needs some good mobility and some work to be able to take it.
Then there’s also the front squat which should not be learned until you improve the technique for the back squat. We won’t explain all the differences here because it would go beyond the scope of this article.
If you don’t want the back squat you still have the possibility to do weighted pistols. They also require very good preparation and a slow increase meant in additional weight.
Pistols have the additional requirement of a good balance and you can apply a lot of the technical advice we gave earlier in this article. To prepare pistols you can start with auto squats to gain some strength first.
No matter what always start with learning the right technique for your individual perfect squat. Leave your ego at home and start with lightweights slow reps beats and work your way up slowly and step by step.
In the beginning, it’s advisable to let someone watch your technique and give you hints of how to improve your squat technique. Only after being able to perform the technique clean, you should think about increasing the intensity of your squat, otherwise, the risk of injury might shoot through the roof.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading the article. Happy Exercising!