Squats are a common exercise in many different exercise programmes, from those aiming to improve cycling power, getting ready for ski season or simply as part of a normal gym routine.
However, despite its popularity it’s difficult to master and is an exercise where it’s easy to increase the risk of injury as you’re only as strong as your weakest part.
We are often asked how to do this exercise properly so here are some tips from Physio and Pilates Central on how to do squats safely and sensibly. Though before we get started this isn’t an exercise for anyone with a bad back – see your physio first and address the back problems and they’ll also be able to advise whether this exercise is suitable.
1. Foot position
Your feet need to be straight and hip width apart – if you can’t keep them perfectly straight then don’t panic as this can be due to muscle tightness, just aim for as straight as possible. However, if there are any tight muscles it would be worth incorporating a stretching programme into your routine in order to improve your technique.
2. Bar position
The bar should be across the upper trapezius muscles (the big muscles across the top of the back), not across the neck
3. Knee position
As you squat the inside of your kneecap should go between your first and second toes. There is an old myth that you shouldn’t let the knees go in front of the toes and this is something we’ll cover in a future blog.
Keep your tummy tight
5. Back position
Your back should be straight and in the ‘neutral’ position at all times. A little lean forwards at the hips is fine but the more you extend the back the more you reduce the total effectiveness of the exercise. Not to mention the potential for issues in the lower back.
6. Weight selection
First get the technique right and then increase the weight. It might feel too easy but only when each rep is done perfectly should you increase the weight.
So happy squatting. If you are having any difficulty with any of the above points or just want to check your technique, do get in touch.