Chances are, at one point you have incorporated squats into your workout routine. Squats don’t necessarily require any extra equipment, so they can be done anywhere. The movement itself isn’t that complicated so most people have some idea on how to do it. However, this doesn’t mean that you have the correct form when squatting. Unless you’re properly squatting, you might as well skip it all together. You can easily put yourself at risk for injury, and unnecessary stress on your ligaments and joints. Done correctly, squats can help strengthen muscles in your legs such as your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves, as well as improve lower body mobility. Here are some common mistakes people make when squatting.
Shift your weight
One of the biggest mistakes people make when squatting is putting their weight in the balls of their feet. When doing a squat, you should always picture yourself sitting back in your heels. A way to ensure you’re doing this correctly is to lift your toes off the ground when you’re in the squat position. As you bend your knees, and the tops of your thighs become parallel with the ground, gently lift your toes off the ground. If you’re unable to do this, you are most likely bending focusing too much on bending your knees. Rather, think about sticking your butt out as if you were sitting in a chair. You should also be able to push from your heels as you extend back up to standing.
Watch your knees as you squat; are they going inwards towards each other? We NEVER want to see this. Instead, we want to think of pushing our knees slightly outward so they cover our toes, but don’t go beyond our toes. Your toes should be pointed forward (shoulder width apart) and your knees should be going the same way as well.
Stand sideways in front a mirror and watch yourself as you squat. Is your back curved with your shoulders hunched over? Stop right there. Open your chest up, pull your shoulders back, and suck your belly button into your spine. Touch your stomach, is it hard? This means your core is engaged (what we want). As you watch yourself from the side, you want your back to be straight, at about a 45 degree angle. There should be an imaginary straight line going from the back of your head down to your lower back. This will help you sit back in your heels more and engage your booty.
Squats can be a great addition to your workout, but only when done correctly.
Written by GUADS staff member Emily with contributions from runtastic.com