When it comes to compound moves that really work, you can’t beat the squat. It works all the leg and abdominal muscles, increases strength and builds endurance. You can start squats simply by using your bodyweight. As you get stronger, you can increase the squat effort to incorporate major lifts.
Squats may look simple, but technique faults can cause injury as well as making your squat ineffective. Getting your squat form right means examining every detail.
Here are 3 important things to remember before you squat.
Some form rules apply to everyone. Make sure that your feet are turned out at thirty degrees and flat on the floor. Lower back must be neutral with no strained curves. Always look ahead, not at ceiling or floor.
More detailed form refinements depend on your build. For example, if you are leggy with a short body you will lean forward more when you squat. If you have wide shoulders, your hands need to be further apart on a weight bar.
Proper squat technique will strengthen the muscles that support knees. Make sure your knees are turned out in line with feet. As you go lower, let your hips take over the bending. Imagine that you are lowering yourself on to an invisible toilet to get the right move. Low in glamour but high in effectiveness!
For your back, a neutral spine position is essential. Keep those knees turning out and do not arch your back. Don’t use a belt if your back hurts – check your form instead.
A squat is only effective if your hips go below your knees. The ‘parallel’ that you break is that of your thighs with the floor. If this is a struggle, move your feet further apart. Remember to keep those toes pointed out.
Make sure every part of your form is correct, and watch those squats work for you.
Well, I thought the same, that's why I was surprised when I saw the people at the gym barely reaching 90 degrees. I thought perhaps it was different if you were using a barbell. if I do standard squats then I do go below the knees.
Sean - as I understand it, if you don't break parallel you are rather wasting your time as you aren't getting the most out of the squat. Doesn't need 'bum on floor' (I certainly can't do that!) but form is indeed all.
I have never heard of breaking parallel before After reading it here I was watching people at the gym using weights and not one of them went below their hip level. Is is just for normal squats (without weights?)
love it about lack of elegance - but that's not what we train for! I've spotted a couple of things I need to tweak, thanks for that.
This is a great explanation of how to get squats right. And exactly right about the lack of elegance, but who cares if it works!