Proper squat form

Most people, in one way or another, attempt squats at the gym. Whether it be placing a ball behind their back and squatting or putting a heavy bar on their back and squatting, people attempt it. And the problem is most people do not use the correct form when performing squats and either wind up with back pain or knee pain or other pains.

Let\’s start with the ball squat. This one boggles my mind. If a person is unable to do a squat because they cannot maintain good posture and contract the abdominals appropriately then a squat should not be performed. The idea behind adding a ball behind the back is to help stabilize the back. The key is the body is its own stabilizing mechanism and if the abdominals are unable to function properly as stabilizers then there are other exercises to be done besides the squat. Having proper posture during workouts can be the difference between not seeing results and seeing results.

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When setting up for a squat these steps should be performed in this order:

  1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart
  2. Turn toes slightly outward
  3. Unlock your knees
  4. Contract your abdominals
  5. Put most of your weight in your heels
  6. Stick your butt out like sitting in a chair
  7. Bend at the hips, not the back, the back should stays completely straight the only bend should be at the hips
  8. Keep bending knees until as far down as possible
  9. Continue to stick the butt out, making sure the toes do not go over the knees
  10. Knees are able to bend beyond 90 degrees
  11. Push through the heels to get back up, very little weight should be in your toes

Some people stop squatting due to knee pain. There could be several reasons why a person has knee pain. If you experience knee or back pain or pain in other areas, you should immediate seek out a physical therapist in order to resolve the issue. Altering the squat or the range of motion diminishes the effectiveness of the squat and can ultimately lead to injury.

The squat is one of the best exercises for the lower body. When performed correctly the squat will work the abdominals, the gluteus or butt muscles, the inner thighs, the outer thighs, the front of the legs and the back of the legs. However, missing one of these steps above will make it difficult to achieve targeting each of these muscles and make you workout less desirable.

Performing exercises correctly will allow you to maximize your workouts.  But remember the slogan is not no pain no gain.  If you feel pain during an exercise it is important to see a physical therapist or other health care practitioner in order to begin treatment right away.
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