The squat is a compound exercise, meaning it works multiple muscle groups at the same time. Although it is a basic movement, used all the time in every-day life, there are a number of common mistakes which people make in the gym which can increase risk of injury, pay particular attention to the key technique points.
- Start with your feet shoulder width apart, or slightly wider.
- Your feet should be straight
- Squeeze your shoulders together to engage back and core muscles
- Slowly sit the bum back towards the floor
- Bend your knees until thighs are parallel to the floor
- Squeeze your glutes at the bottom of the movement; drive your heels into the floor to stand back up
- Depending on the weight, use higher reps for lighter weight
- can do fewer sets with high reps
- 3-5 sets of 6-15 reps
Key technique points:
- Don’t arch your back
- Make sure weight is in your heels
- Don’t allow the knees to travel forwards, should always be able to see your toes
- Don’t allow your knees to collapse in, particularly during the upward phase
- Squeeze your glutes throughout, but particularly at the bottom and top of the movement
When you are able to easily complete each variation then move onto the next, however, if you are unable to control the movement then take a step back.
- Add weight, either to the front with kettlebell or back with a barbell
- Hold a pole or a weight over the top of your head for extra core emphasis
- Use an unstable surface, such as a bosu
It is always better to be able to perform an exercise with correct execution at an easier level then poor form at a harder level. Poor technique creates an injury risk – particularly in the lower back for core exercises.
- Remove any weights, or change where the weight is
- Use a box or a bench to sit down onto to help build confidence in movement pattern
- Use a TRX for support to improve movement pattern