"I never know if I'm doing a squat correctly. Either I'm about to fall backwards or I'm leaning too far forwards. I just can't get it. Help!"
Doing a squat correctly is not easy and takes practice. A lot of muscles need to work together in this exercise.
First you want to think about how your weight is distributed in your feet. You should feel a connection of the balls and the heels to the mat and your weight should be evenly balanced between this points. When you squat you sit backwards and bend at the hips and knees. Your knees should feel stable, your upper body should be lifted and you should feel grounded.
When you squat the lower back needs to arch and the tailbone follows this movement. The increased arch is supported by your abdominals the abdominals in this position. Focus on a lift and support in the lower belly as you bend down and stand up from the squatting position.
The chest should be lifted and not resting on your thighs. If you are looking at your profile you should see a 90 degree angle at your hips and knees.
Many people compensate in the following ways:
- Knees coming over the toes
- Chest too far forward
- Knees rolling inwards
- Tailbone tucking under
These occur for weakness in the quads, back extensors, abdominals, and poor movement patterns.
What can you do to help you practice?
Try a squat against the wall. This will allow you to target the key muscles with support and you can focus on keeping your torso upright. Practice bending as you breathe in and straightening as you breathe out. Feel the support of the abdominals as you bend down and work with your exhale to draw the abdominals in as you stand up. You can slide up and down against the wall or just hold the position. If you are holding a squat make sure you are breathing consistently.
Try doing a smaller range of motion in correct form. Hold at the point where you feel your body start to compensate. As your muscles get stronger you will be able to increase the range. If you continue to work in poor form you will not get the benefit of the exercise.
Comment below and visit our Exercise section for more articles on exercise technique.