When it comes to transforming your body, the squat is by far one of the best exercises you can do. It works almost every major muscle group in your body and helps you burn a ton of calories in a relatively short period of time.
And while the squat looks simple to the naked eye, the reality is its not as easy to do as it seems. This is why so many people end up injuring themselves while trying to do this exercise.
With that being said, here are 5 mistakes you must avoid when doing squats.
Mistake #1 – Rounding The Back
When you squat your lower back should never be rounded. Doing so can cause serious injuries to your spine.
Instead of rounding your lower back you need to focus on keeping it flat and neutral. Keeping your back and body in its proper position is vital to preventing injuries and ensuring you get the best possible workout.
If you notice your back is rounded, the easiest way to fix it is to switch up the variation of squat you do. Instead of doing a regular squat try the goblet squat.
The goblet squat will help you train your body to perform the regular squat with proper form.
Mistake #2 – Not Going Low Enough
When squatting your goal is to go down to a position where your thighs are parallel to the ground. When your thighs are parallel with the ground you strengthen your lower body.
You also protect your knees by alleviating a lot of the pressure that comes from doing squats.
If you are currently unable to go low enough, take a few weeks to work on mobility. You can even try a different squat variation until you are able to squat low enough.
Mistake #3 – Caving Your Knees Inward
This is probably one of the most dangerous mistakes you can make when attempting to do squats. You can seriously hurt yourself if you allow your knees to cave inward as you squat.
When you squat your knees should be pointing in the same direction as your toes. If you have trouble maintaining proper form it could be for one of two reasons.
Either you have too much weight on the rack, or your lower body doesn’t have good mobility. If mobility is your issue, take the time to do a dynamic warmup before you start your workouts.
Doing so will help you fully open your body. You can also train your hips by placing bands around your knees as you do bodyweight squats. The goal is to make sure your knees are always in correct alignment as you do your squats.
Mistake #4 – Squatting With Machines
If you want to get the full benefit of the squat you need to perform it using free weights. This is because the squat is a very complex exercise.
To get best results you must be able to move freely. If you are using a machine your movement will be severely restricted.
With free weights you will be able to improve balance, improve stability and strengthen various muscles in your body.
Please note that if you are new to doing squats using a smith machine may be a good idea. There are mechanisms in place that will help you remain safe as you perform the exercises.
And since you don’t have to balance the weights you can focus on perfecting your form which is the key to getting the most out of this exercise.
Mistake #5 – Wearing The Wrong Shoes
Yes there are certain types of shoes that you should wear when doing squats. These shoes, known as squat shoes, can be the determining factor in whether or not you are able to properly execute a squat.
Most squat shoes have a raised heel which gives you the ability to squat lower while keeping your torso in an upright position. By keeping your body in perfect alignment you will be able to avoid some of the more common injuries associated with squatting.
While we strongly suggest you invest in squat shoes, we also understand doing so is not a priority for all people.
If you opt not to get squat shoes, make sure whatever shoes you do get have a rigid sole. When you squat you are basically transferring power.
Or at least that’s the objective. You want the power to go from your legs straight into the ground. Having a shoe with a rigid sole will help you stay in place as you transfer power.
Since this is not running you want to avoid shoes that have too much cushioning. Cushion is designed to absorb shock or force. When you are squatting you don’t want the force to be absorb.
Cushion can also cause your feet to slide around which can make it difficult to maintain proper form throughout the squat.
The most affordable and reliable squat shoes would be the classic Converse. The overall design is perfect for this type of exercise.