You might have the idea of the advantages that squats provide once you have them added to your physical exercises; however, you may wonder why it is considered one of the best exercises.
In fact, you have found the best place! Read more to know why squat is the king compared to other exercises.
As a beginner, learn the basics on how to squat (see the video below).
When standing, keep your feet hip-width apart and tighten your abdominal muscles. Then move your body down, as if you are sitting on a chair, but you must do so in a controlled and slow manner. When your legs are parallel to the floor, stop and hold this position for a few seconds. Once stabilized, press your heels to the floor and then rise back to a standing position. Basic squats strive to achieve good balance and form.
Try to challenge yourself, increase the weight once you have this squat finished. When in a squat position, lift a set of dumbbells at shoulder level, or use only one dumbbell, and then hold it with both hands before squatting. It is essential that you follow the proper squat procedure and that your knees and feet are aligned. It is not recommended that you compromise your form squatting beyond what’s right.
Squat instruction video with squat specialist Aaron Lipsey.
How To Perform A Proper Squat Correctly
Hi my name is Aaron Lipsey, I’m a squat specialist and today I want to show you how to do squats with weights. There are various types of squat you can do however there are three primary:
The power squat, the Olympics squat and somewhere in between.
The power squats the most common squat you probably see, or at least variations of, because of the fact that you hear people commonly say don’t allow your knees to go past your toes. Well at Olympic lifting that’s what a lot of people do is shift the knees forward to keep an upright back.
In Olympic lifting the back is very safe, if you do it right.
In powerlifting the knees are safer but the back, it’s still safe but it can be vulnerable, especially if you’re taller and have a longer femur.
I’m going to show you how to squat today, just your basic squat, and what I want you to do when you practice this is use wooden dowel like I’m going to use.
The wooden dowel has no weight to it so it allows you to actually try to strike the pose with no extra support on your neck to realign yourself.
The barbell makes it easy!
If you’re able to Olympic squat or a power squat with the wooden dowel then you know you have the flexibility to accommodate the position.
Before I get demonstrating on that I’m gonna cover only the two most important components of the squat at least through my eyes that’s gonna generate power and make sure the body does its job with regards to which joints do what and when.
The first thing you want to know about the squat is going to be the kneecap
Let’s say you descend into the squat and you’re at rock bottom or you’re parallel doing a power squat, at that moment you’re gonna rise up your kneecap shouldn’t move forward, not even a millimeter, because you want the barbell on your heel because it’s drawing energy from the floor to rise up, so you have to make sure that that kneecap begins to make its way backwards towards the heel. That’s one of the biggest keys when you watch the whole squat all the time there’s a full weight transfer, so technically they don’t have the strength in their core, or through their hips.
Now deep squats have a lot of quad work, we already know that. But it’s much more quad work if you drift forward and transfer weight, which means again you just don’t have the power, so you have to pull off on the weight technically didn’t do the squat properly and so you have to pull back on weight to develop the power on the proper region, so that’s the glutes, the torso as well of course quad hamstring.
The second component is going to be alignment
When you do a squat you look at somebody from the side view if you’re a trainer or a coach, which is what you want to do, you want to make sure that that barbell is traveling in a straight line.
You don’t want the barbell to move forward, which it does as I mentioned earlier if the knees drift forward, and it does if you stick the bum out too far, so one of the misconceptions in fitness is don’t let your knees go past your toes.
But, if you tell somebody who’s six foot seven six foot eight to do that, their hips will be a country mile behind them, and then the kneecaps although they’re held there, will be protected but the torso will be folded over so their barbell will be probably a foot in front of their foot, a foot behind their heel.
So you have to make sure that the length of the femur plays a role I’m not gonna cover it in depth, those the two key components I just want to overview before I demonstrate the squat.
The barbell travels on a straight line, kneecaps once you’re at your lowest point do not move forward anymore, they pull back.
It’s a pretty neat squat it’s quite powerful and I’m also going to show you with the hips too so before I demonstrate the squat, let’s overview the hip position too.
You go down into the squat position and you’re squatting down. Your kneecaps are somewhat forward your bum are somewhat behind you. The kneecaps and the hips both have to make their way back to the heel to generate super power. The kneecaps will drop back as I mentioned, and the hips will draw forward.
One of the big tips I’ll give you right now with regard to those hips is try not to drive them forward right away. Visualize driving the kneecaps back first a bit as the hips rise, and then thrust forward. There is a timing sequence to that to generate optimal power to give you a super squat. However, you’re gonna have to feel that as you go along in the meantime don’t just thrust forward when you stand up.
I’m going to demonstrate this right now. Again, the wooden dowel is key because if you can’t do it with the wooden dowel and hold the barbell or the wooden dowel on your heel, you just don’t have the flexibility yet.
So you have to use this versus the barbell or weight that’s going to be a lot easier than this would be.
Squats with bar
We are going to do barbell squats so grab any wooden dowel, broom handle, what have you, and you’re gonna put the barbell on your neck we’re not going to be too concerned with the exact form and technique because if you want to get intricate I’ll give you more details in the blog posts and stuff and videos move forward.
In the meantime let’s just focus on a basic sit position on the squat and focus on those two variables which I’ll show you. So barbell goes on the neck. Usually it sits on the trap so when you draw your shoulders back and down a bit and the traps kind of bubble up, and that’s your shelf for the bar, we’ll work on hand position later on. In the meantime just grab the wooden dowel. The width of your of your stance can also vary based on where your your joints position inside the hip bone, and genetics do play a role in that. Some can squat more narrow and still keep the position I’m going to show you, but some can’t, in which case you have to widen them a little bit further and open your stance.
I’ll show you this way first before I improve my demonstration, so people in a lot of videos will squat like so, and that’s going to allow for that torso to fold, and the knees to drift forward that’s why I was telling you it’s so important; you have to also adjust your stance to accommodate that, a lot of the best lifters in the power community widen their stance which I’m going to do today, at least average, to show you the squat. And it is technically not even that wide, if we took a piece of chalk and did an imaginary line from the shoulder down, it would strike my heel so technically this stance itself is shoulder-width, because you factor in they feel don’t worry about the toes so much.
So shoulder and straight line down it’s going into my foot some call this wide, I’d say it’s pretty average, a little bit beyond average probably, so don’t go with a certain foot stance widen but don’t go too wide because too wide means you’re gonna use more groin and just try to accommodate the back position sumo style. It’s a bit of a manipulation, it’s not wrong, but it doesn’t display true strength in the hamstrings and glutes as much as this squat does. So let’s get through it and then you guys can practice.
The barbell goes on the neck. Get your wide stance and like is said the two variables I’m going to show you in slow motion. Take a deep breath in, and then you’re in sit down. So when you’re sitting here, watch my kneecaps on the bottom when I rise up, they’re gonna pull back, and I’m gonna thrust.
I’ll show that to you once more, so you sit down, head up, and then watch my knee caps, pullback, thrust.
Depending on range of motion and how tight you are, there might be a subtle movement there of that bar but technically there should be none.
Olympic lifters are the best at it, the barbell travels in a straight line once it’s overhead. So that’s your basic squat technique.
How far the hips go back is also going to be a variable in regards to how far your torso moves forward. It’s pretty automatic so it looks like this; if I stick my bum up, my torso is going to fall this way, and the barbell technically can’t stay along my heels, and I can’t generate power that way.
So to put your hips as far back as they do in the fitness community into fitness classes and stuff, wouldn’t work on a barbell. Your back would pay dearly.
I just want to give you an overview that a lot of the back muscles are vertical axis muscles, which means they run up and down. They’re designed to support the core and minimize squishing, compressive loading it’s called on the back. So you want your chest to face forward in the squat. So, if I’m squatting I want my chest and face forward and get my angle some what but it’s still facing forward. Many people fold over too much, if you watch a lot of people squat you’re gonna notice this quite well, with regards to that barbell drifting off the foot.
So just to review; two variables right now on the squat, don’t let the knees shoot too far forward, but if you’re six foot two, they’re gonna move some what. Keep the barbell on your heels travel in a straight line, and when the kneecaps are set and you’ve caught yourself deep, or how deep you you want to go, they drop back as the hips rise and thrust. So they can’t go forward if they did you’d just transfer the weight to the quads. So you’ve added a rocking motion, transferred weight to the quads to help yourself stand up and the display of power, which makes the squat so great didn’t actually occur then.
Full Body Workout
Normally, squats are just capable of building up the muscles from thighs to legs but the correct execution can exercise about 200 muscles. When you squat, especially when lifting weights, your entire body is exercised. Indeed, squats should definitely be the title of the best functional exercise for humans. During rehabilitation workouts Physical therapists use functional exercises because they can help the body perform natural activities.
The hamstrings, calf muscles and quadriceps are the areas of focus in toning the legs through squats. Each time you use a slower squat exercise, these muscles will become more toned.
Your glutes will be offered a powerful exercise with squat because it assists to lift, tone and tighten your buttocks. For greater effect, try to squeeze your cheeks if you are about to stand.
Some of the benefits of strong core muscles are that you can maintain a stable posture and you can stand upright, thereby reducing back pain. The core muscles of your body are engaged by squats thus the requirement to keep the balance throughout the movement through your abdominal and back muscles can be attained. However, it is necessary to concentrate on tightening the abdomen when squatting to make them become toned.
Adding weights to your squats, can give you a full body workout. Possibly, you can utilize dumbbells, barbells, or even a weighted suit. When you start to include weight, remember to start light and add on more when you’re much more comfortable.
You have just learned how to squat. With all of the advantages to the squat there’s no reason to leave it out of your workout. Start immediately, squat it out!