If you're doing them incorrectly, Squats can crush your central nervous system and tear a ton of muscle fiber throughout your body, potentially leaving you lying on the floor, out of breath and unable to move. If that happens, you'll be hobbling out of the gym, or worse, instead of enjoying the awesome training effects of this exercise when done correctly.
Muscle imbalances, movement faults and proficiency issues can change the dynamics of the Squat, lowering its benefits and possibly leading to serious injury.
Fortunately, imbalances can be reversed, movements re-learned and mindsets changed.
Here are three easy corrections to common Squat errors.
Problem: You Don't Know How To Squat
Most people simply don't know how to Squat. They have either never received a tutorial or have had poor instruction in the past. Although Squats may seem complicated, they can be learned fairly easily.
Correction: Learn Correct Form
What really matters most when squatting is challenging your ability to handle maximum weight while maintaining the safest possible form.
Safe form requires you to engage your core and push your hips back and your knees out. This allows you to maintain a stiff midsection, protect your spine and have the strength to produce as much power as possible throughout the greatest range of motion.
The inability to perform these tasks correctly will greatly increase your risk of injury and decrease your strength considerably.
Sure, loading the bar with enough weight to bend it will make you look cool for the day, but make this mistake one too many times and you could be feeling the consequences for life.
Improper execution of the Squat hits you in all the wrong places and puts stress on muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones that aren't meant to be stressed. Sadly, some people let their ego get the best of them and constantly try to lift weights that exceed their ability.
Although you do need to challenge yourself in order to grow, you shouldn't sacrifice movement quality in order to do so.
Slowly progress your exercise by adding small increments of weight to each set. Try to beat your personal record by 2.5-10 pounds each week. While this may seem like nothing, over the course of a few months it adds up. Believe it or not, increasing just 2.5 pounds every week leads to a 130-pound increase over the course of a year.
Problem: Mobility & Patterning Issues
Despite having your ego on lock and knowing what a good Squat looks and feels like, you may still have a problem moving correctly. This may seem like an anomaly, but ankle and hip stiffness and glute inactivity are actually fairly common.
Correction: Mobility Work & Glute Activation
Add corrective exercises to your training program. Dedicating five minutes of corrective/prehab work to the beginning of your training program or adding fillers between sets are two of the best way to incorporate these exercises into your training program.
Cleaning up your issues will not only help you prevent injury, it will also help you burst through barriers and reach levels you never thought possible.
Ankle Mobility Exercises
Hip Mobility Exercises
Glute Activation Exercises
- Ask a STACK Expert: The Bar Hurts My Back When I Squat. Am I Doing Something Wrong?
- Back Squat Technique: How to Hold the Barbell
- Squat 101: A How-To Guide
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