How To Improve Your Squats
If we were asked to name an exercise that is the illest-performed in the gym, it would have to be the squats. It’s no secret that squats are one of the most beneficial and important exercises when it comes to building muscle mass and improving functional strength. So, improving your squat is something that can be extremely beneficial in the long run.
While many people take the right step of incorporating the compound exercise in their training program, only a few take out the time to learn the correct way of performing the squats.
There are numerous benefits that come along with improving your squat, and on the opposite side of that there are many repercussions that could come with performing squats the wrong way. However, we have created a guide to improve your squats!
The first step in improving your squat is honestly just starting right. The squats start before you get under the bar. How and where you place the bar on your shoulders can determine the quality of the exercise. High and low bar positions are the two most popular ways of placing the barbell on your back.
High bar squats are where the bar sits higher up on the traps, as opposed to low bar squats where the bar rests across the rear deltoids, or even maybe slightly lower. Both have their own benefits to them!
The high bar is generally used by bodybuilders and/or average height individuals. Whereas, the low-bar position is used by powerlifters or taller people. Both can take time getting used to. We recommend picking the one you’re comfortable with and sticking with it.
Mind Your Step
Most people make the mistake of un-racking the barbell in a lunging position. Both your feet should be under the bar as you go for the lift-off. While the foot placement might not make a difference in the beginning, it’ll prove it’s worth as you lift heavier weights.
Once the bar is un-racked, you need to get in position by your second step. The first step-back should be to get at a comfortable distance from the rack, and the second should be to get in position for the squat. Don’t lift off the bar and take 5-10 steps to get in position. Too many times people will go too far back, and when they go to re-rack, the trip back is longer than they thought. Too many steps leave a lot of room for error and injury.
Many people don’t know the correct foot placement while squatting. They either keep their feet too close or too wide. In a normal squat, your feet should be directly under your shoulders and pointing at 1’o clock.
Squats Not Good Mornings
We’re sure you know someone who bends forward while performing the squats so much so that their upper body is almost parallel to the floor at the bottom of the movement. You do not want to be performing a good morning when you are squatting. This can result in lower back injury, or even other injuries. If you can’t help but lean forward while squatting, you should consider dropping down the weights. It is far better to have good form and lower weight, than atrocious form and heavy weight.
Another trick is to keep your chest out and look at the ceiling. Forcing your upper body to remain straight throughout the lift can take some getting used to. Warming up and stretching before squatting can also help improve your form.
Breathing is one of the most overlooked aspects of working out. If you’re not already using controlled breathing in your workouts, you’re leaving gains on the table. Also, using controlled breathing while squatting isn’t as simple as breathing in while going down and breathing out while coming up.
To make the most of the exercise, you should take a deep breath at the top of the movement and hold your breath as you squat down. Exhale sharply as you return to the starting position.
Using accessories like the gym belt and knee wraps can take your squatting game to the next level. A weight lifting belt combined with the new breathing technique you just learned can help you generate an incredible amount of thoracic pressure.
The knee wraps keep your joints tight and can help with generating a little push on the concentric motion. Wrist wraps, barbell pad, and weightlifting shoes are some other great accessories you should consider investing in.
Why Improving Squats is Important
As to why you should be mindful of improving your squat, there are a few reasons, let’s dive on!
For one, gains are far better with better form. Who wouldn’t want their gains to be more glorious? For example, if you are half-repping your squats, or any exercise for that matter, you are not getting the full muscular engagement as opposed to when you complete a full range of motion. Squatting with the best possible form, leads to the best possible gains for the lifter!
Another reason to be mindful of how you are squatting is injury. Performing squats incorrectly could result in things like back issues, knee issues, and other unwanted issues that could put you out of commission. It is every lifter’s worst nightmare to be injured to the point where they cannot hit the gym at maximum strength. Make sure to do everything you can to avoid something like that.
Overall, the squat is something that can be extremely beneficial if performed correctly. However, if it is not performed correctly, it could be detrimental to gains, or even result in injury. None of these are something that you should want to experience! So, with that being said, it is best to be mindful of how you are performing your squats.
How much can you squat? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.