There is no doubt that when it comes to lower body training, the squat is the best movement in the iron game. As a matter of fact, it’s so effective that it will help your core and upper body since you have to support the weight with your shoulders, back, and arms while stabilizing your core. If the squat isn’t at the top of your leg training list, it should be.
By Roger Lockridge
Since the squat can be so essential to your performance and physique, it would be best if you were able to master it, right? Now this is for those who are familiar with the squat and is looking to take their game to the next level. These three tips can help you perfect your form so you can reap all the benefits that this big lift offers.
Approach the Bar the Same Way
Why do basketball players practice so much? They’re working on perfecting their form so when the time comes and they have to take a tough shot, they stand the best chance possible to make it. Baseball players approach the plate the same way as do kickers on the football field. Why does this matter in training? If you want the best chance to make that big lift, then you should follow the same pattern approaching the bar and taking the weight every time. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first warm-up set or your third big lift of the day. Plant the same foot first, get under the bar the same way, take the same breaths, unrack it the same, and then do what you do, lift.
Chest and Chin Out
Where the head goes, the body follows. Whereas this is true in life, it’s also true in the squat. If your head and chest are staying down while you’re trying to squat, then you’re very likely to achieve failure. When you’re standing with the weight and are preparing to go down, your chest should be sticking out and you should be looking straight ahead. Don’t look up because it will strain your neck. Looking straight ahead is best. When you’re coming back up, don’t just think about standing with your legs. Do your best to pop your chest up and make sure you’re not looking down. This will help keep your path of travel straight so the bar is only going straight up and down. You know the saying “the shortest distance to two points is a straight line”? It definitely applies here.
Knees Stay Out
The squat isn’t as bad for the knees as a lot of people make it out to be. If you’re doing the squat correctly, it won’t affect your knees in a negative way at all. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t matter because they do. When you’re coming out of the hole and standing back up with the weight, you should focus on driving your knees out to the sides on your way up. Don’t let your knees come in at all. If you do, two things will happen. First, it will shift the way you’re driving your body up which means the rep will be tougher to complete. Second, your knees coming in will result in you rounding your back which can lead to you having to do more work than necessary to complete the rep. It can also result in a back injury.