The most common mistake novice gym-goers make is not knowing how to squat properly. As such, I have outlined the proper way, a human being should squat.
There are many types of squats, but the most common are the following:
- Weighted squat (squatting with a weighted barbell)
- Unweighted squat (squatting with just the body).
Regardless of whether you are doing a weighted or unweighted squat the following are the steps required:
- Stand upright with the face looking out horizontally to the floor.
- Spread your legs ever so slightly.
- Lean back ever so slightly, till you feel your lower back muscles engaging.
- With your upper body stationary, bend your legs, at the knee, till both legs are almost touching.
- Return back to your former position.
- Repeat the sequence for the require amount of time.
Proper squat form
Unknown to many people, to get the best benefit, squats must be taken as more of a back exercise than a leg exercise.
The squat is known to correct many muscle defects in posture, and their complications, like the Diastasis recti,
When executed properly, a proper squat is meant to do the following:
- Engage the back muscles
- Also, engage the oblique muscles.
- And finally, engage the leg muscles.
When done incorrectly, the squat will engage the above and do the following.
- The abdominal muscles (abs), most people do this instinctively by sucking in their stomachs when doing strenuous exercises.
- Leaning forward when going down.
- Feet not planted fully on the ground.
How to squat without weights
Squatting doesn’t necessarily have to be done with weights. In fact, squatting without weight can also be as challenging as squatting with weight.
unlike squatting with weights, the intensity of squatting without weights can be varied. Hence why it is the best choice for beginners, overweight or obese people.
The exercise is further simplified, due to the fact that their hands aren’t as engaged as people squatting with weights. This is useful in helping them get balance during the workout, as they learn the ins and outs of squatting.
Written below is how to squat without weight:
- Stand upright, with your legs slightly spread, but firmly planted on the ground.
- Use your pair of hands to hold your pair of ears.
- Push out your chest till you should feel your lower back muscle engaging.
- Face front, with your eyesight horizontal to the ground.
- Without sucking in your stomach, and using your back muscles as support, bend down, till your butts are touching your legs ever so slightly.
- Return to standing position, making sure your eyesight is still horizontal.
- Repeat the sequence for the required number of reps (repetitions).
How to squat at home
Squatting at home can be the best thing to do if you are an introvert that values your privacy. You will have to do the following:
- Look for a clear open space (you can use a room in your house, your backyard or any free open space in your house).
- Depending on your fitness levels and to avoid injuries, you will have to choose between squatting with weights or squatting without weights.
Things to never do when squatting
Like all complex exercises that are always abused by people, not having proper form when squatting can be the difference between seeing desired results and not benefiting from your pains at all.
As such, I have outlined things you should never do, when squatting:
1. Leaning forward when squatting
Never lean forward when going down to complete a rep. Instead, lean back, ever so slightly. This form can be likened to riding a skateboard and will take time to master.
When squatting, is done properly, the effect of the workout would be felt on the back muscles and upper back legs.
2. Keeping legs to close together.
Let’s face it, many people are not extremely fit. So doing things only fit people do, when you are unfit is utterly stupid.
Squats done with closed legs are done by professionals, not novices. Cut your coat according to yourself, and stop putting yourself in situations where you can pick up an injury.
3. Feet not planted firmly on the ground
Squats are done, with feet firmly planted on the ground. Under no condition, should you start leaning forward on your toes, or start leaning to the side? This can snap your ankles and will make you not achieve the best results from squatting.
See also: Benefits of sprinting