Squatting is a dynamic and functional exercise that provides a variety of physical and health benefits. It is one of the most important exercises you can incorporate into your weekly routine. Squatting is used to increase muscular endurance, strength, and power, and is a key component of many exercise programs. Therefore, it is important to have proper technique in order to perform the movement effectively and safely. To help you out, here is a comprehensive guide on how to squat properly – read on to find out now.

Benefits of Squatting

Squatting is a functional exercise that provides numerous physical and health benefits. Here are some of the most impressive benefits to be gained from regularly incorporating this exercise into your workout routine:

• Increased lower body strength – Squatting strengthens all key muscles of the lower body, from the legs, glutes, to the lower back and core.

• Improved muscular endurance – Regularly performing squats can improve your muscles’ ability to sustain repeated contractions, increasing your endurance for other workouts and everyday tasks.

• Increased explosive power – Squatting is a great exercise for building explosive power, allowing you to move multiple joints simultaneously and move in all directions. This helps your body to become more agile and responsive.

• Improved flexibility – Squatting is a vital exercise for range of motion and flexibility. The motion can open up your hips, improving your overall flexibility.

• Reduced risk of injury – Squatting properly helps you strengthen your muscles and improve your balance, leading to fewer joint, ligament, and tendon injuries.

• Healthy joint health – Squatting helps to lubricate the joints, promoting healthy joint function and increased range of motion.

• Increased overall performance – Squatting activates muscles around the whole body and helps to improve coordination, aiding in the overall performance of your body.

Proper Squatting Form

Now that you understand the many benefits of squatting, it is time to learn the proper form for performing this exercise. Here are the essential tips for proper squatting form:

• Start with proper stance – Place your feet about shoulder width apart, slightly turned out. Be sure to keep your back as straight as possible as you lower yourself into a squat.

• Keep your core engaged – Engage your core and lower your body by sitting back and pressing your hips behind you. As you do this, push your knees out to the sides and keep your chest up.

• Squat to full depth – Descend into the squat until the hips are at least below the knees. Try to keep your ankles, knees, and hips in alignment throughout the entire range of motion.

• Keep your weight in your heels – To ensure proper form, focus on keeping your weight in your heels as you lower your body. This helps you keep your balance and prevents you from losing your form.

• Push up through your heels – As your body lowers, be sure to push through your heels rather than your toes. This helps you engage your glutes and quads more effectively.

• Maintain 10 points of contact – As you squat, keep pressure in your feet and toes, maintain contact between your lower back, shoulders, neck, and head. This helps you to keep your posture correct and your form efficient.

• Squeeze your glutes on the way up – As you return to the starting position, squeeze your glutes and keep your torso tight. Pause for a moment at the top to maintain the tension in the muscles.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Squatting properly is important for reaping the most out of your squatting exercises, so it is important to avoid some common squatting errors. Here are the four most common mistakes to avoid when squatting:

• Rounding your lower back – Rounding your back while squatting puts unnecessary stress on your spine, which can lead to back pain and injury. Be sure to engage your core and keep your back as straight as possible throughout the movement.

• Not holding your weight in your heels – Holding your weight in your toes instead of your heels does not allow you to effectively engage all your lower body muscles. So be sure to focus on keeping your weight in your heels as you lower your body.

• Not squatting to full depth – Not squatting low enough places you at risk of injury because it does not adequately challenge all the relevant muscles. Squatting to the lowest possible point allows you to fully engage your muscles and reap the most out of the exercise.

• Not squeezing your glutes – Squeezing your glutes as you rise up helps you engage your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, so be sure to contract at the top of the movement to maximize your results.

Squatting with Many Variations

Once you have mastered the basic squat, you can start to add many variations to your exercises to keep your workouts fresh and to further challenge your muscles. Here are some variations of the squat you can try:

• Goblet Squat – With this variation, you hold the weight in front of you like a goblet, elbows bent and hands in line with your chest. This helps to keep your form in check, allowing you to move slowly and master proper squatting technique.

• Overhead Squat – With this variation, you will hold the weight above your head with your arms close to your ears and parallel to the ground. This exercise emphasizes shoulder and lower back mobility, improving your overall strength and mobility.

• Bulgarian Split Squat – also known as a rear-foot-elevated split squat, this variation requires you to stand on one leg, with the other foot resting on a bench or step behind you. By doing this, you increase the amount of weight placed on the working leg, allowing you to build more strength and muscle.

• Jump Squat – This variation requires a more explosive movement, as you must jump up as you squat down. To perform this exercise correctly, you must use your feet to push yourself off the ground as you reach the bottom position. Doing this helps to increase muscle power and boosts your cardiovascular fitness.

• Smith Machine Squat – The Smith machine allows you to keep the weight on the machine, freeing up your hands for balance and stability. This is a great way to make sure your form is perfect, as the barbell can only move in the vertical direction.

And there you have it – the essential guide on how to squat properly. Squatting is an essential exercise to develop strength, power, and mobility, and is a key component of any workout routine. Using the guidance provided above, you should be able to start performing the exercise with proper form and reaping all the physical and health benefits associated with it.