It is imperative to master the squat motion first with bodyweight squats before adding weight. The correct form can reduce the likelihood of injury when performing squats.
Here, we explain how to do squats properly and what common squatting mistakes you should avoid.
Step one: Set your stance
Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart to get into a proper squatting position. As for the exact position of the feet, it depends on anatomical differences. But a general rule of thumb is to turn them out by 5 to 30 degrees. Instead of having your feet point directly ahead, your feet will turn out a bit. How much depends on your comfort level and mobility.
Make sure your upper body is solid before you squat
Bodyweight squats focus on the lower body but don't forget about the upper body as well. It is imperative to maintain tight abs, stiff shoulders, and a straight gaze. Your chest should remain upright, as well. Core engagement is paramount since you aren't looking to bend over. In a squat, the chest is somewhat straight, and this is how you differentiate it from any other kind of hinge motion. For this exercise, your core muscles and shoulders must be engaged.
Foot firmly rooted in the floor
Engaging your muscles, improving alignment, and maintaining stability can be accomplished by digging your feet into the ground. In addition, it will keep your arches from collapsing, which can cause your knees to cave in when you squat. It is called knee valgus.
Squat butt first
The most common mistake when squatting is to bend the knees first. This form will put you in a poor position, especially when you progress the movement. So, follow expert advice and bend at the butt. Think about pushing your butt backwards. This is the key to squatting right. Once your rear is shifted back, bend your knees to continue your descent. Make sure your glutes are open when you bend your knees and your hands are forward. This will counterbalance any imbalance that might throw you off of your stance.
Do bodyweight squats have to be low to be effective?
A persistent debate in fitness revolves around squat depth. Usually, this argument is thrown around by barbell back squatters-but that doesn't mean that you can't ask what the appropriate depth is without weight. You should maintain a butt depth that is just below the knees. And you should ensure that you keep your body engaged when you hit the depth. The same applies to your glutes. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when bodyweight squatting is letting your knees cave in. This can be avoided by keeping your glutes engaged. Finish the movement by pushing through the ground with your feet and extending your hips.
Make sure your pelvis is in a neutral position at the top of the squat. Think of it as bringing your belt buckle to your chin. Just be careful not to hyperextend: push your hips forward too far and you'll end up leaning backwards, which will put stress on your lower back.