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How to Perform a Squat… Correctly!

Posted Apr 01 2009 2:53pm

Do you know how to perform a squat? I mean how to do it correctly — anyone can just hunch over, drop down, and come up with two less knees than they had before.

How to perform a squat

How to perform a squat

The squat is considered one of the most basic exercises, but also one of the most effective and comprehensive total-body movements. In fact, it's one of the most-used movements in your day-to-day life too — when's the last time you had to lift something off your chest or curl an item multiple times while staring in the mirror?

But, you have probably squatted down to pick up a little one, lift furniture, or even standing up from your chair.

Correctly performing a squat will help prevent injuries and lessen the stress on your knees and back. Follow these five easy steps and you will be able to perform a squat correctly in no time.

1. Use a box or chair

If you have problems with balance and stability, you can use a box or chair to help you out, and always start with no weights at all, until you are familiar with the movement.

Now, tighten your core, push your butt back, and simply sit back and down into the chair. Ideally, the chair or box should be at a height that leaves your thighs parallel to the ground when sitting.

2. Keep all your weight in your heels

Placing all the weight in your heels will keep the stress off your knees. Remember to keep your heels on the ground at all times whenever you are performing a squat.

3. Keep your body straight

Whenever you perform a squat incorrectly, the pressure will fall on your knees and/or back, and the last thing you want to do is let your lower back round or lean forward excessively. Keeping your body straight throughout the exercise will relieve your back from any unnecessary stress.

A straight back will also engage your core muscles, which will enable you to work out different areas of your body all at the same time. To make sure that you are keeping your body straight, keep your shoulder blades engaged and straighten your spine.

4. Use the services of a spotter

Once you're familiar with the movement and ready for weights, make sure you have a spotter keeping an eye out for you. Not only can a spotter help you if you get in trouble in the bottom position, but they can assess your form as well. It's easy to forget or slip into bad form without even knowing it when working with heavy weights.

5. Don’t be afraid to go down as low as you can

There are plenty of critics saying that if you squat too low, you’ll ruin your calf muscles and even your knees. There is no existing medical basis for this belief.

Don’t be afraid to try to go as low as you can, as long as you're able to keep your core tight and lower back straight. Most people do not have problems with the lowering part, but they may break form when powering up from the bottom position.

Just follow these five easy steps, and you'll have tree-trunk thighs in no time!

What is your favorite version of how to perform a squat: Back, Front, Dumbell, etc.?

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