This is normally referred to as the king of all exercises because it targets many body parts with a greater focus on your lower back muscles, gluts and legs. That’s not all; it engages more motor units and muscle mass, and is good for burning body fat.
Tips for squats:
When learning squats, avoid using lifting belt but start using body weight alone until you master the squatting technique.
Here is how to do squats:
- Put your feet about shoulder width apart and flat on the ground. Let your knees bend as you get near the bar whose height is already adjusted to your own height; ensure your weight is kept on your heels. Your weight should not be distributed to the ball of your or toes. If your feet are straight ahead, your knees are likely to cave in; therefore let your feet be inclined a little. Also, avoid standing with your feet further than shoulder width to prevent stressing the medial collateral ligament and knee cartilage. Your feet shouldn’t be too close to avoid stressing your toes.
- Move your shoulders below the bar. The bar should be across your shoulders’ back.Placing the bar over your trapeziums muscles, grab it with your hands at a comfortable spot (about 15 cm away from your shoulders); the bar should be weightless to enable you master the motion first.
- Lift and remove the barbell from the rack and move one step forward, so that the rack doesn’t cause unnecessary motion interference.
- While looking straight ahead, with your heels on the floor, your chin up and your back straight, bend your knees and gradually lower your hips just like “siting” on a chair. Begin by going as far as you can to the chair seat level; with practice you’ll be able to get there.
- Let your lower back remain in a neutral position and pull in your abs. If your back curves slightly, don’t worry. Maintain your chest and head up to counter this as much as possible. For a full range motion, ensure your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Unlock your body power by having tightened abs throughout the movement; your body helping you manage the weight, which should remain distributed in your feet and upper thighs.
- Maintain a proper and safe form, push up off your heels and lift the weight. Let all your body parts be actively involved as your legs are straightened and gradually but steadily move up. Your gluts should be exercised to give you power as you move up without letting your spine curve.
- Your spine should remain upright only with your slight natural curve. Even if you get tired, do not bend your back at all. Never do a rep if it becomes impossible to do it without your back arching.
- Always keep your knees in position. They should not pull while squatting. Bend the knees but they should remain almost in the same position by keeping them outward but not pushing through the toes. Also, your knees should not extend beyond your toes, to avoid causing muscle damages.
- The bar should never rest on your neck base but on your upper shoulder muscles. Always have a wider grip of the bar.
Breathe in as you drop down; while coming back up, breathe out to make use of your body’s natural rhythm for smooth movement of the squat.