The squat is one of the best lower body exercises you can do! When practiced with perfect form, you will definitely feel and see results. But everyone must learn this “perfect form.” A few common mistakes with the squat are:
- the knees not staying behind the toes the entire time
- the butt not being pushed far enough back
- the neck being strained from the eyes looking upward
- the back being slouched, and not going deeply enough into the squat.
Fortunately, I have just what you need to start improving your squats!
The 4 Keys to a Perfect Squat
- Start your squat by pushing the butt backwards as you descend (as if you are attempting to sit in a chair that is just out of reach.) A great way to practice this is to place your heels about 8-12 inches in front of a bench, so that you are forced to push your butt back to touch the chair with the butt. This also helps ensure you are descending into the squat deeply enough (upper thighs should be parallel with the floor with the knees behind the toes the entire time.)
- Ensure your knees stay behind your toes while you descend.
- Keep a straight back the entire time, with the eyes looking straight ahead.
- Once the upper thighs become parallel to the floor, squeeze the glutes for a seconds before ascending, pushing off the heels-and not the toes.
Squats should be practiced with full range of motion, but if you haven’t acquired the strength yet, there are a number of ways you can modify them to get the same benefit and also be working toward the non-assisted variety.
Water Ski Squat
The “water ski squat” modification is my favorite because it encourages that all “the keys” are being practiced. For this mod, you are going to use a cable or a resistance band for counterbalance, and you want to use enough assistance so that you can complete a perfect squat somewhat fluidly at least 10 times.
Now, if you feel like bodyweight squats are too easy, then you may want to start adding weight. But If you are going to move up in weight with the squat..learn perfect form first.
Other squat variations:
- Wall sits are great practice for getting comfortable with that uncomfortable burn that should be felt at the deepest portion of the squat.
- Squat hops pour gas on that thigh burn and assist fluidity within landing.
- Squat pulsations as a finisher on the last repetition at the deepest portion of the squat add the burn to the nth degree.
Squats: love ’em or hate ’em?