Along with quadrupeds and four-way hip extensions, traditional squats are one of the greatest glute-strengtheners around, according to ACE Fitness research. However, if you are not familiar with the correct way to execute squats, you are not fully optimizing this muscle-building exercise.
To assist in maximizing the burn in your glutes, take note of these six incredibly common squatting errors. Then, learn the proper technique for performing squats and ensure that you reap all the advantages they have to offer, as recommended by fitness experts. By the way, this guide to your glute muscles will teach you the most effective ways to train them.
6 Errors in Form and How to Properly Execute Squats
Issue #1: Your shoulders and back are relaxed
Without adequate tension in your shoulders and back, your entire squat technique deteriorates. You end up rounding your back, losing control, and besides being able to lift less weight, you also increase the risk of injury, according to Tony Gentilcore, C.S.C.S., a strength coach located in Boston, Massachusetts. Essentially, your body forgets how to properly perform squats.
The correct way to execute squats: Draw your shoulder blades down and together. This simple adjustment will activate your core muscles and prevent your body from becoming lax, as advised by Gentilcore. You will be surprised at how much stronger you will feel. Additionally, by squeezing your shoulder blades together, you create a small ledge on the back of your shoulders that is ideal for a barbell. If you are performing back squats (with a barbell across the back of your shoulders), concentrate on pulling the bar into that ledge. This will assist in maintaining tightness in your shoulder blades throughout the entire movement, according to Gentilcore.
Issue #2: Your knees collapse inward
Knees caving inward indicate a distinct lack of strength in your outer thighs, states Gentilcore. Allowing your knees to collapse inward only worsens muscular imbalances.
The proper way to execute squats: Instead of loose and lengthy shorts, be sure to wear leggings or a high-quality pair of bike shorts so that you can monitor your form more effectively. Keeping your feet anchored to the floor goes a long way in maintaining proper knee alignment, according to Gentilcore.
Take a “tripod” stance, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed beneath your large digit, small digit, and rearfoot. Then, imitate the act of attempting to expand the floor between your feet. Exert pressure from your feet into the earth and towards the lateral sides. Your feet should not actually shift, but you ought to sense some strain in your hips. This will supply you with additional firmness, as mentioned by Gentilcore, so that your knees do not collapse.
Problem #3: You never descend beneath parallel.
“There is a widespread misconception that squatting below parallel is detrimental to the well-being of your knees. That is entirely untrue,” asserts Gentilcore. “If you do not have any knee problems, squatting to a deep depth is entirely beneficial and can actually enhance the strength of your knees.” Furthermore, deep squats engage regions of your gluteal muscles that shallow squats simply do not activate.
The correct method for performing squats: The correct way to perform squats? Descend as far as you can comfortably. The optimal depth will differ for each individual. However, in general, squat until the upper area of your thigh is slightly below your knee, shares Gentilcore. On the other hand, if you feel at ease and in command, you can even go lower, advises Nick Tumminello, the founder of Strength Zone Training. Just remember, squats should never cause discomfort. If they do, that is your body signaling you to modify your technique. (
Problem #4: Your knees extend well beyond your toes.
The further your knees protrude beyond your toes during squats, the greater the strain on your knee joints. This can potentially lead to injuries, warns Tumminello. Fortunately, rectifying this problem and executing squats correctly is simple.
The correct method for performing squats: Align your knees with your toes. While it is perfectly acceptable if your knees extend a centimeter or two in front of your toes, focusing on keeping them behind your toes is a straightforward way to ensure you do not excessively lean forward, he explains. “Ideally, your hips should move backward to the same extent that your knees move forward,” adds Gentilcore. (Ready to elevate your squat game? Follow this step-by-step manual for constructing a homemade squat rack.)
Problem #5: You have only attempted one kind of squat.
Squats come in various forms and styles, reveals Gentilcore. You have back squats, front squats, goblet squats, plyometric squats, and the list goes on. Even if you grasp the correct way to perform squats, you will not achieve optimal results if you only stick to one type.
The correct method for performing squats: Diversify your repertoire for maximum outcomes. While every type of squat contributes significantly to your lower body, each variation places distinct emphasis on different muscles, such as the hamstrings or glute medius, otherwise known as the side butt.
Attempt several alterations every week (give a go to a few of these 12!), and you’ll acquire the advantages of each one, he expresses.
Issue #6: You only perform squats once per week.
The less frequently you engage in squats, the longer it will take to observe outcomes and enhance muscle development, states Gentilcore, even if you are aware of the correct method for performing squats. After all, squats are extremely effective: They engage more muscles and consume more calories than nearly any other movement.
The correct method for performing squats: To discover a suitable balance between not training enough and overtraining, aim to execute squats two to three times per week, he suggests. On one day, use heavy weights for a small number of repetitions. On another day, use lighter weights for around twelve repetitions. If you opt to include a third day, experiment with a different variation of squats, he suggests. (By the way, this guide will assist you in planning a well-balanced week of exercise sessions.)
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