Today I would like you to learn how to get better results with your Squat. My recent posts on getting good glute activation and functional strength exercises detail the benefits of the squatting exercise.
- Works multiple muscle groups, including lower body, glutes, and core
- Helps with Good Posture
- Preventative exercise for reducing injuries
- Contributes to overall fitness
- Your Glutes will Grow!
Yes, I realize there are a million articles on how to perform a squat correctly. And I hope that you have read some of these. More so I hope that you are using these tips when you go to the gym. It’s still great to continuously review good form.
If you think you are performing the squat right but not getting results, I have some tips for you. While it seems like a fairly easy thing to do, squat, and the explanations are fairly straightforward….I have seen numbers of quite fit people perform half assed squats. It frustrates me to see this. Not because I want to tell people they’re doing it all wrong, but because I want to see people get the most benefits out of their efforts.
The squat is most perfected by and infant/toddler. This was the easiest way for me to think about what a squat should look like. Now lucky for me, when I was learning to squat, I had an infant child to show me a functional squat.
How to Squat Correctly and Get Better Results:
Stretch, stretch your arms, legs, core. Stretch your hips and ankles. You can’t get a great squat with tight muscles.
Stand with your feet hip width apart or slightly wider than hip width. Tip: If you are looking for higher glute activation take a wider stance.
Turn your toes slightly outward. Slightly bend your knees to make sure that your knees are going to point directly over your toes.
Take a deep breath and squeeze/flex muscles in your core and legs. Do not underestimate the power of breathing correctly through a squat.
Find a focal point, usually somewhere around the top of your head. Keep your eyes fixed on this focal point throughout the whole movement. Do not look down, do not look at the floor while you are squatting.
Squat down, as if you are going to sit down.
Keep your back and neck aligned, Do not bend your hips or back.
Squat until your legs are at least 90 degree angle or lower. The lower you can go, the more glute activation you will get. Some people can go very low (ass to grass) and some people just do not have enough hip mobility to go lower. If you can’t, you can’t, don’t hurt yourself.
Push through the heels, while using your quads and glutes and core to a standing position. Make sure that you are engaging your glutes and core.
Keep your knees steady, do not let them bend inward. If you are having trouble with this, practice with a cue or use a resistance band to train those legs.
Squatting effectively can take practice for some people because of limited mobility with hips, knees, or ankles. For most people, bodyweight squats are fairly easy to conquer. However, once you start adding weight, it’s very important to continuously to monitor your form. Watching videos is a very helpful tool. Have someone else watch you or take a video of yourself.
Perform about 12-15 reps per each set for a bodyweight squat. Just don’t go so fast that you lose your form.
If you do have limited mobility, there are accessory exercises and stretches that can help.
Once you are comfortable with a bodyweight squat, add weight. You can add weight by holding a dumbbell, using a smith machine (assisted weight machine), or move up to Barbell Squats.
Barbell Squats are the type of squat that will produce better results. Barbell Squats will help you achieve a fitter and stronger body. Performing a barbell squat is similar to a bodyweight squat. Now you also need to learn how to load a bar correctly.
Loading a Barbell for a Squat
Adjust the rack holders so that your barbell will sit at about chest level.
Stand in the middle of the bar.
Hold the bar with hands a little wider thab shoulder width and get underneath the bar where it can rest in the middle of your traps. Here your shoulder muscles can squeeze around the bar and it’s not lying on top of your neck.
Push up and take a step backward so you are standing with your feet about hip width apart. Try to complete this movement in 2-3 swift steps. You do not want to waste your energy for too long before squatting.
Perform the squat as described above, now you will also need to ensure that you are using your shoulder muscles to support the bar.
Rack the bar when finished by taking a step forward.
Start your barbell squats light until you have the hang of it. Then gradually add 5 lbs., usually once per week until you reach a challenging weight.
Always warm up by doing a set with the just the bar. If you are lifting heavy, you may benefit from a second warm up set at about half the weight you will use for your regular sets.
As you add weight, lower your reps. It’s very common for lifters to do barbell squats in sets of 3×8 or 5×5. 3×8 for 10-20% lower than your max lift. 5×5 when you are lifting at or close to max.
Do not hurt yourself, use a spotter if lifting heavy and/or ensure that the safety bars at the bottom of the rack are in a good place. Do not hurt yourself, if you don’t feel like you can make it, re-rack the bar and de-load your weights.
Various Types of Squats:
- Goblet Squat
- Wall squat
- Chair squat
- Box squat
- Dumbbell Squat
- Barbell Squat
- Front Squat
- Sumo Squat
- Single leg
- Bulgarian split squat
Use the power of breathing through a squat. Take a deep breath right before you bend your knees and breathe out on your way back up.
Use the power of focus. Focus on the movement and focus on activating all the right muscle groups.
Use the power of belief. The more you believe you can do it, the lighter the weight will feel.
You can do it! You can Squat and if you apply the tips you learned today, you will Get Better Results from your Squat!
YOU WILL LOVE YOUR BODY MORE AND YOU WILL GET STRONGER!
Video Tutorial from Bodybuilding.com