As an experienced weightlifter, I have had over 1,000 pounds on my back, and let me tell you: technique is everything. I have literally trained thousands of athletes how to squat properly and some of those basic techniques are going to be outlined in this article. You will need two simple items for this lesson; a wall and a chair.
First keep in mind that a proper squat is all about balance. Don't try to go all the way to parallel on your first rep. Go slowly, adding a few inches of depth with each rep. It takes time to teach your muscles to perform this complicated exercise.
- Face the wall, direct your nose and eyes looking upward. Your chin, chest, and toes should all be touching the wall in front of you. Your toes must be pointed outward in a 45 degree angle.
- Stand with your feet about a foot length wider than shoulders, and then raise your arms above your shoulders, about even with your ears, the palm of your hand should be touching the wall at an equal distance away from your head.
- Now look up and this should help you arch your back. Stick out your chest. Lift your toes slightly. This forces you to keep your weight on your heels.
- Sit back and down a few inches at a time. Be sure to maintain your chest being parallel with the wall. Try to reach back with your buttocks, while keeping your chest parallel to the wall.
- As you lower yourself, tighten your abs, and keep your toes elevated just slightly, to push your weight on your heels.
- Keep lowering yourself until you just barely touch the chair that is about 6-12 inches behind you.
- Rise up from the lowered position by driving your hips forward (like someone is pulling on a rope tied around your waist). Exhale and inhale at the top of the movement only.
NOTE: If you are having trouble getting low enough with the squat, try spreading your legs wider and make sure your toes are at a 45 degree angle to the wall.
Learning To Squat With A Bar
- Bar placement is everything and you need to place the bar on the bottom of your rear shoulders, not on the top of your shoulders.
- Maintain your knee position and don't let them drift out over your toes. Keeping your lower leg straight is the best way to protect your knees.
- Tighten up your whole body, tighter and tighter as you lower yourself, deeper and deeper.
- Rise up and keep your eyes towards the ceiling. If you look down or straight, then you will drop your chest and put too much effort on your lower back.
Alternative Squatting Using Dumbbells Or A Ball
You do not always need to use a bar on your back to achieve the benefits of the squat. Holding a ball in front of you and just using your bodyweight often provides enough resistance for the squat movement. Bands also provide a great resistance and allow you to move quicker.
There Is A Reason For Everything In The Squat
Stop Back Pain
Most back pain is associated with individuals who lower their eyes in the squat and then allow their chest and lean forward, thus putting extra weight on their back. It is very important to arch your back very hard. This allows for all of the joints in the back to close down and become locked, thus it will be very difficult for a joint to get hurt when the back is closed down.
Stop Knee Pain
Most knee pain occurs when you allow your weight to come onto your toes and then your knees come forward and causes them to strain. It is also very important to have your toes pointed outward at a 45 degree angle. This allows for the knee joint two open properly as you squat down. Keeping your toes pointed directly forward puts an abnormal pressure on the inside of the knee and eventually leads to an injury.
Balance is very difficult and it will take several weeks to learn how to be able to squat properly. Most individuals should practice doing between 25 and 50 reps in three or four sets per day for a week, prior to squatting with any weight at all.
Keeping the abdominal muscles tight, results in your body acting like a weight belt. Increasing your abdominal pressure is one of the best ways that you can prevent back pain. So suck in that gut while you squat and keep it there.
You should always wear a belt whenever you are going to be lifting anything more than your bodyweight. Follow these simple steps to a great squat workout and/or use this technique to teach your clients how to lift properly.