8 common Squat Mistakes
The proper technique is essential when you squat.
Once you know how to properly squat, it seems like the easiest thing on earth. But until then, you may make a couple of mistakes. Here are the most common ones and how to avoid them in order to do the perfect squat!
Mistake Number 1: The feet are too close together.
The fix: Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart. Make sure your toes look straight.
Mistake Number 2: Your knees bow in.
The fix: Keep your knees behind your toes and in line with your feet at all time! If they drift inwards, it means that your gluteus medius, a thick band of muscle located on the outside of your hip, is not strong enough. So if you were squatting with weights, decrease the load. If you weren’t, make only a few squats but do them properly and strengthen your gluteus medius with straight leg side planks.
Mistake Number 3: The body leans too far forward.
The fix: When lowering into a squat, it should feel like you are sitting back on a chair behind you. You may actually put one there to assure you do the movement correctly. Your full bodyweight needs to be in the heels so that your toes could wiggle happily when you lower into the squat.
Mistake Number 4: Not dropping down low enough.
The fix: In the beginning it may be hard to squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Again, too much weight may be the handicap. Or: You are starting the movement with your knees instead of your butt and back. You need to learn the proper hip hinge. When you drop down into the squat, push your hips and hamstrings back as far as you can, as if closing a door with your butt. Briefly pause in the bottom position, then push your hips forward and come to a full stand, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement. Squat experts may squat until the hip joint is lower than the knee joint.
Mistake Number 5: Descending too quickly.
The fix: When weight is added, moving too quickly can increase chances of injury. It’s okay to explode with power when returning to a standing position, pushing all the weight through your heels. But sitting into the squat should definitely take a little while to maintain proper form.
Mistake Number 6: Shoulders hurt.
The fix: Use a shoulder pad and place the bar slightly lower on your back instead of directly on the shoulders or the neck. Find the shelf created by your mid trapezius above your shoulder blades and while squatting, always look straight. Keep the chest elevated and pull your shoulder blades together toward your spine.
Mistake Number 7: Your breathing.
The fix: Inhale in standing position, before you drop down. It should be a deep breath into your belly. As you inhale into your belly, you should simultaneously tighten your abs to create a lot of intra-abdominal pressure. This will keep your core tight. Don’t breathe in as you drop down, you want the pressure increased beforehand. Do breathe out as you’re making your way back up.
Mistake Number 8: Not warming up.
The fix: Warming up is important before heavy lifting. You may jump rope, row, run or do bodyweight squats in preparation for the movement. If squatting with a barbell, start with an empty bar and add weight gradually.