How to squat properly? A step by step guide
Squats are one of the most prevalent exercises known to humans. From being a part of almost every recreational bodybuilder’s routine to being the attraction of strongman competitions, they’re one of the most popular exercises. And rightfully so, given their effectiveness in building strength and muscles. However, as humans, sometimes our bodies find shortcuts to move easily, even if it could lead to an injury, and therefore it is essential to understand how to squat properly. No exercise provides a lower body workout as squats do. Squats work many muscles, including
- Quadricep thigh muscles
- Straight abdominal muscle
How to squat properly in five steps
Get into proper squat position
If you’re a beginner and have struggled to get in the correct form in the past, try visualizing your position in your mind. The first step towards doing a squat properly is opening your feet as wide as your shoulders: nothing more, nothing less. Also, make sure your feet make an angle between 5-30 degrees. Keeping your feet straight will disturb the mobility of your hips and make it harder for you to complete your entire range of motion.
Place your feet firmly on the ground
After tilting your feet at a comfortable angle, make sure to divide your weight evenly between your feet. Failure to do so can lead to a muscle imbalance. Distributing your weight unequally can overstress your muscles leading to injuries. The wisdom behind placing your feet firmly to the ground is to have a stable base and have the correct alignment that engages all your muscles.
Begin your descent
After getting into the perfect squat position, initiate your squat by bending your knees, lowering your hips, and breathing in. Feel the whole movement and the impact it’s having on your muscles, especially if you have struggled to maintain form in the past. It will help your brain memorize the patterns and movements, making your subconscious mind familiar with the technique. Also, while you’re at it, avoid rushing your descent. Instead, take it slowly and let the movement work your muscles.
Be patient if you want to be sure how to squat properly
As far as the depth of your squat is concerned, most experts suggest to at least go as deep as having the back of your thighs parallel to the floor. When you reach that point, pause for 3-5 seconds. The longer your pause, the more challenging it will become for your muscles, and as the old saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” Patience is the key here. Not taking a pause will give your quads an added rhythm from the descent, making the squat easier for you.
Initiate your ascent
While the descent will push your interior muscles, such as quads, the ascent will work your posterior chain of muscles, including hamstrings and glutes. When you begin to descent through the power from your hamstrings, exhale your breath. The result will be perfectly shaped hamstrings bulging out with the most delicate shape. Also, to have the correct breathing pattern, you can whisper “exhale” during your ascent. It will train your mind, and soon it will start coming naturally to you.
How to squat properly without your training buddy?
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if you’re following every guideline without someone to correct you. And therefore, if you want to be entirely sure of your form, practice squats in front of a mirror. Doing so will give you a lot more clarity on your technique, and you will also be able to detect errors. If your hips are at least parallel with your knees during the descent with your weight distributed equally, the chances are that you are on the right track.
Benefits of knowing how to squat properly
Squats are one of the most strenuous exercises. However, what makes them worthwhile and a part of almost everyone’s routine is the endless benefits they offer. From helping you increase strength to improving your appearance, squats check nearly every box a challenging exercise should check. Here are some lesser-known benefits of knowing how to squat properly:
Boost athletic performance and explosiveness
Nearly every pro-athlete performing on the highest level uses squats to boost their explosiveness. Squats provide muscles with explosive power and the speed needed to perform at the highest of levels. Also, squats cut down the risk of injury by raising muscle endurance. Apart from that, they also improve flexibility. They make muscles more elastic, enabling them to work effectively while also improving balance.
Help in weight loss
Even though squats are known for working the lower body, they’re highly effective in burning fat. Nearly every weight-loss program has squats in it. They tone the entire body, and also help in getting rid of love handles.
Conclusion: how to squat properly
All in all, if you follow this guide, you will never have to worry about your form again. Squats are the Optimus prime of lower body exercises, and there’s no way around them. Whether you’re a recreational bodybuilder or a professional bodybuilder who competes, squats are a must for you. And if you’re really committed to your goals, you need to cut all the noise that tells you otherwise.
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