Squats are a staple among most bodyweight exercises, and for valid reasons. Squat workouts strengthen the legs, hips, knees, and glutes in addition to building muscle.
However, it's all too easy to squat incorrectly, and even minor squat errors can put you on the fast track to injury. We can help you avoid injuries by guiding you through these workouts.
So, we talked to experts about eight common squat faults, how they could affect your body, and what you should do instead to keep your form on point and your glutes intact.
The first mistake is to rotate your knees in or out
Internal or external rotation of your knees places more stress on your knee joint and ligaments due to potential quad muscle weakening. Back problems can result from increased knee joint tension paired with incorrect hip alignment.
Maintain your hips stacked over heels and knees stacked over ankle to avoid lower back, hip, and knee problems. A shoulder-wide stance may help, but you may need to go a little broader or narrower depending on hip mobility and your body type.
You're placing strain on your IT band and other groups on the outside of your leg when your toes turn out, and you're not engaging your glutes appropriately. The easiest techniques to avoid this are to strengthen your hip abductors and keep your toes forward.
Mistake #2: Allowing your knees to extend past your toes
You may incur knee pain or injury if your knees extend beyond your toes at the base of your squat.
Quad dominance occurs when you lead with your knees. That's not to suggest you shouldn't use your quads, but squats should predominantly work your glutes. Hips should return to their starting position, and you should extend fully at the top of the action to re-engage your glutes before lowering.
This increased knee angle increases joint tension and makes your quad muscles work harder. Tight hips might cause knees to go forward accidentally.
Look down during a squat to see if the tips of your feet are noticeable, they are, you're probably fine; if they aren't, you need to sit back a little more.
Squatting too low is mistake #3
Although some studies suggest that squatting low is beneficial to your health, we only recommend decreasing to 90 degrees. Going above this point puts too much strain on your knees and quads, and you won't have enough leverage to push up with your glutes. It could also put your lower spine at threat.
A shallow squat, on the other hand, is unlikely to cause damage, but it may not provide the strength gains you desire. As a result, we'll add it to our list of common squat errors.
For beginners, squatting with a stability ball behind your back and against a wall will assist you maintain good alignment while doing the squat exercise.
4th Error: You stand on your toes
A squat's strength comes from pressing through your heels. As a result, shifting extra weight on your toes causes you to lean forward. What's the end result? Knee injuries and overstressed ankles are more frequent. This pose also lacks the leverage you require in your hips and glutes.
In a squat, going forward on your toes puts all of your body mass on your knees and quadriceps, which inhibits glute activity. This causes quadriceps overdominance and imbalances. Instead, drive your heels into the ground. Then, while engaging your glutes, sit back and drive through your squat.
Mistake #5: You don't pay attention to your essential values
Your core should be engaged while you squat. You should drive not only through your heels and glutes, but also into your abdominals when you stand.
You can maintain a neutral spine by stabilizing your inner core muscles and maintaining a more rounded lower back and pelvis. According to Cunningham, this will relieve needless pressure on your back, allowing you to fix some of your squat errors. This allows you to concentrate on using the correct muscles throughout each squat.
Keeping your spine in a neutral position during the squat pattern is really crucial. You must be able to engage your intra-abdominal pressure in order to stabilise your lumbar spine (IAP). IAP acts as an anchor, providing stability for large-scale movements such as squatting. Consider your abdomen as a balloon to accomplish this Doc recommends inflating your balloon to help stabilise your lumbar spine. To stabilise your back when squatting, breathe deeply into your stomach.
Mistake #6: You let your chest droop
Good posture may either make or break a squat. The upward slope of your cervical spine leads to an increased risk for disc injury. Pushing further forward, on either hand, causes the back to round and the spin to be stressed. Poor posture is the source of far too many squat mistakes.
Of course, as you sit back and down into your squat, it's natural to lean forward a little. Make use of a mirror. You're on the correct track if you can imagine yourself with your head straight and chest high.
You squat too quickly, which is mistake #7
Please don't rush! Squats performed quickly increase your risks of injuring yourself due to negligence. So, keep your cool and take a break in between squat sets. This provides for enough recovery—you'll be able to get the most out of each squat by resting.
You forget to breathe, which is mistake #8
Take a deep inhale and don't hold your breath. To help stabilise your core during a squat, breathe into your belly button rather than your chest. As you squat, slowly and deliberately inhale. Then slowly exhale while pressing your heels into the ground and rising up.