5 Tips to Improve Your Squats
Chicken legs are probably one of the most common sights to be seen in gyms around the world. It is no secret leg days are one of the most despised days in the life of a bodybuilder. But make no mistake, a pair of shredded wheels is what separates the men from the boys.
Legs are the foundation of your physique. If you want to have a strong upper body, you need to have a rock solid lower body. Leg presses and leg extensions are cute, but it’s the squats which have proven to be the most effective leg builders.
People don’t like to squat since they are hard to perform. Most of the people who do perform them, don’t do it right. In this article, we will help you fix your form so you can reap the most rewards from this exercise.
1. Don’t Bend Your Back
Most people make the mistake of bending their back while squatting. While a normal arch on the way down is okay, it shouldn’t look like you’re performing half squat and half good mornings.
You can use your nose as a pivot point. While you squat your nose should look like you’re jumping straight into a swimming pool. If it looks like you’re diving into the pool, you’re doing it wrong.
2. Keep Your Head Turned Up
Warming up your lower back and legs before a leg workout is always a good idea. If for some reason you have a stiff lower back or hamstrings, you might have a tendency to bend forward. Doing so will put pressure on your glutes and lower back and take off the stress from your quads.
Keeping your head turned up and looking towards the roof can help you in keeping your back straight. The more you keep your back straight, more will be the tension on your quads.
3. Flair Out Your Knees on the Way Down
While squatting, some people push their hips back which brings their back into the movement as they have to bend forward to complete the movement. The right way of performing a normal squat is to push your knees out and going straight down while keeping your back straight.
The right starting position for a normal squat is to have a shoulder-wide stance with your toes pointing out slightly. Imagine as if you were sitting in between your knees. Don’t push your hips back as if you were to sit on a chair.
4. Keep Your Body Tight
Like every other exercise, squatting isn’t about going through the motions. You need to maintain a mind-muscle connection with your quads throughout the movement. Keep your quads tight and squeeze the hell out of them at the top of the movement.
If you want an intense quad pump, perform this exercise with a constant momentum while keeping your body tight. Don’t pause at the top or the bottom and flex your quads at the starting position.
Breathing is another very important aspect of squatting. While you’re at the starting position, take in a deep breath. Hold your breath and keep your core tight on the way down. Breathing out on the way up will help you generate thoracic pressure.
5. Use Accessories
Using accessories in your workouts can improve the results. A weightlifting belt can help you to generate thoracic pressure and will enable you to lift more weight. Knee wraps and sleeves can provide you support on heavier lifts by giving you that extra push from the bottom of the movement.
A Barbell squat pad is another great accessory which many people diss. Greats like Tom Platz used the barbell squat pad, so you should check your ego before stepping into the squat rack the next time.