As one of the most effective lower-body exercises, squats are highly efficient. When executed correctly, this simple move can hit the major muscle groups in your legs as well as give your core a serious workout. However, should you get this exercise wrong, you could miss out on some of its benefits and even risk injuring yourself. With that in mind, here are some of the most common squat mistakes (and how to rectify them).
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5 Most Common Squat Mistakes
1. Letting the Butt Rise First on the Way Up
You’ve just hit the bottom of your squat and are ready to spring out of the hole. Rather than your torso and butt rising at the same speed, your butt takes the lead. When this happens, it puts all of the pressure on the hamstrings, glutes, and back. However, the move fails to hit your quads, which could be a real issue, and furthermore, this could do some serious damage.
This common problem is known as the “good morning squat” and happens to many athletes when they first start out. Thankfully, it’s easily solved. Adjusting your stance as you rise and paying close attention to your butt could be the answer. If you struggle to correct this mistake, it may be a sign you need to work on strengthening your quads.
Thus, it might be most helpful simply to go down in weight to first correct the error and really feel what proper form is like.
2. Caving in While Standing Up Out of the Bottom
Should you find your back rounding when you stand up out of the bottom of the squat, you may need to take a moment to readjust. Many fail to realize the impact this lack of precision and core strength can have on their squatting.
The problem here is this stance releases tension from your core. Your reps won’t have the same impact when you make this common squat mistake. As you rise, focus on keeping your spine straight and slanted. It may take practice, but it’s worth it. Plus, this will allow you to really strengthen your quads and build muscle there.
Furthermore, rounding your back on the way up when you’re carrying heavier weights on your shoulder could result in unnecessary soreness and potentially even injury. Squats might seem simple, but your form still matters.!
3. Allowing the Knees to Go Too Far Forward
As you likely have noticed by now, proper form is crucial to executing an effective and safe squat. If your knees are too far forward when you squat, you could find your joints take the brunt of your weight. The consequence of this error may come years down the line. Over time, your knee joints could really suffer.
To solve this issue, wearing knee sleeves could provide added support and compression and help you sit further back into your squat. Try to stop leaning forward. As a general rule, remember your knees should never pass over the tips of your toes. When you keep that in mind, you won’t go far wrong. The minute you notice this problem, stand back up and start again, pushing your knees backward. Simple.
4. Failing to Squat Deep Enough
How effective are your squats? If you’re failing to squat deep enough, you could be shortchanging yourself here. While partial squats do offer some benefits, they work your glutes, hamstrings, and quads far less than full range of motion squats.
That being said, you shouldn’t compromise clean form for the sake of squatting low. The point is not to “cheat” your squats.
If mobility is a limiting factor, don’t be afraid of baby steps. Start by squatting onto a box, bench, or ball. You can slowly work your way to a greater depth.
5. Lifting the Heels Off the Ground
One of the most common squat mistakes newcomers tend to make is lifting their heels as they hit bottom and stand up. This error weakens the entire movement, making your workout far less effective than it would otherwise be.
Trying to rectify this problem is easier than you think. As you squat down, drive through your heels and really increase the pressure there. You will notice this puts a lot of emphasis on the foot area and tightens up your leg muscles. While we all slip up at times, keeping tabs on this problem is absolutely key.
If necessary, cut the depth of your squat a little shorter so that your heels can remain connected to the ground. Do this until you recognize the feeling of having your whole foot on the ground and can better control it.
Ready to take your squatting game to the next level? Now that you are well versed in the most common mistakes, you can start to change your ways. Don’t worry if you have been guilty of these workout sins in the past. There’s still time to get on track. Get started today and seriously boost your squatting technique.
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