Proper Form For Squats
by Jackie Burgmann, creator of "Hot at Home" - The Transformation Solution for People Who Hate The Gym
Does your workout routine require you to do squats often?
If it doesn't, it should.
Squats are a great full-body exercise that helps build
well-shaped, toned buttocks and legs as well as giving your cardiovascular system a good workout in
And if it does, and you're doing lots of squats, that's great, but are you sure you have your form correct?
If you aren't sure what the proper form for a squat looks (and feels) like, here's a quick guide to help you know how to do a squat properly.
Those of us who have been doing squats for any length of time take the difficulty of getting squatting form exactly right for granted. And even if you're experienced, it's possible there are a couple of areas where you could improve your form.
If you're new at squatting always start with the bodyweight squat since it's imperative that you get a basic bodyweight squat correct before moving on to the more complicated weighted versions.
But before I get into this, I want to share with you a valuable theory about teaching yourself improper form so you understand why learning proper form in your exercise routines is so very important (and this applies to any exercise, not just squatting).
The theory is that it takes 500 reps for your body to learn a new move ...
BUT, if learned incorrectly the first time it takes about 5,000 reps to unlearn and relearn a move correctly.
I find this to be a very valid theory since I’ve been through it myself several years ago with push-ups.
It took me several weeks to get my form right after realizing I had it learned it all wrong in the first place.
The problem was that it 'felt' right while I was doing it, and it's hard to look in a mirror during a push-up so I was relying on it feeling right and assuming I had it right, but once I saw myself on video I realized it was VERY wrong and had to work very hard to overcome the instinct I'd trained into myself to start doing them correctly.
Performing your moves with incorrect form could lead to injury so it really is important to get it right the first time and every time.
Okay, back to business.
Here are some simple tips to get your form nailed next time you’re doing bodyweight squats and avoid the dreaded 5,000 rep correction curse.
Start by standing up straight, shoulders back.
Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your toes should be pointing forward, with the majority of your weight resting on your heels (but not so much that your toes come off the ground).
Keeping your head up and your spine neutral, bend at the hips and knees knee as you lower your upper body into a sitting position (90 degree angle at the knees ... or even deeper if you're more advanced) using your quads for strength to keep you from crashing to the floor since there isn't actually a chair there for you to sit on.
Nothing else except some ankle flexion should be happening and your butt should be sticking out far behind you. Also make sure your nose stays over your hips and your knees do not cross in front of your toes.
Be very careful not to rise up onto your toes.
You'll need to concentrate on leaning slightly back so that your torso stays erect and your weight stays mainly on your heels. This can be difficult and feel unnatural at first and takes some practice.
If you need to actually place a bench or chair behind you under your butt, so you know where you’re aiming at first then do it.
However, the chair trick tends to cause beginners want to stick their faces waaaaay out in front of themselves because that's how they've trained themselves to sit over the years when just sitting down in a chair during their leisure time or at work.
So, unless you’re VERY worried about falling on your butt I suggest training yourself for proper squat form without using this trick unless absolutely necessary for safety. It can often work against you for learning this new way of bending and balancing.
Another thing to watch for is that your knees don’t come together as you lower your body (think of someone who's knock-kneed) ... this is something you want to avoid at all costs because it can harm your knee and hip joints and ligaments.
Now that you've practiced these pointers and you're confident you have your squatting form correct, here's a small test you can put yourself through to confirm you're doing them properly.
Stand facing a wall and put your feet/toes about three inches from the wall. Now squat. Did your nose, chin or knees hit the wall?
If so, time for an adjustment or two, because you're bending too far forward and not pushing your glutes far enough back.
If you’re doing them correctly you should be able to get all the way down and all the way back up without hitting the wall at all.
Practice that for a week or so. You’ll have the form down solid once you’ve passed the ”Wall Test”.
Once you have your squatting form down to perfection, you can start practicing some more difficult variations, such as deep squats (bend your knees further than 90 degrees and attempt to bring your glutes closer to the ground) or weighted squats (holding a dumbbell hanging from each hand, or held over your shoulders), or other cool variations where you change the stance of your feet, such as curtsy squats, sumo squats and split squats.
But first things first.
Practice these tips, and once your bodyweight squat form perfect then it's on to bigger challenges and even better leg and glute shaping results!
The squat is one of the best bodyweight exercises out there. They build beautifully toned legs and glutes and burn fat at the same time.
That's why there are lots of fun, interesting and effective variations on the squat included in each and every
one of the over 40 weeks worth of fat-blasting home workouts in "Hot at
Home". It's the Transformation Solution for People Who Hate The Gym (like I do).
Plus, if you grab it now, as a BONUS you also get the extensive "Hot at Home" Exercise Gallery including explicit instructions and full-color photographs of me personally demonstrating every exercise in the program so you NEVER have to worry about wondering how to do a specific exercise properly or ever getting your form wrong.
And that's how to burn fat fast and get in your best shape yet ... at home!
Find out more here: Hot at Home Body Transformation Solution