20 Common Squat Mistakes We All Make
08th December, 2020
Netflix unsplash.com
Squats are helpful, but only if you’re doing it right! From bent knees to raised heels, here are some mistakes to avoid if you want some serious gains. Squats are the ultimate move if you want something effective. This strength exercise is highly recommended by nutritionists and physical therapists alike, as it helps build core strength and improves muscle mass. However, getting it right is somewhat difficult. The simple routine often gets complicated because of too many variations. Thankfully, we’re here to inform you about some common squat mistakes and what you must do to avoid them.
Bad lift-off squatuniversity.com
01
Bad lift-off
Holding onto the barbell as tightly as possible is the perfect and only way to start your heavy squats. If you’ve gone too gentle with the grip, there are chances of an injury to your spine, which can be concerning. Therefore, it is essential that you make your mind up about the weights and stay confident as you start picking it up.
Bad posture 8fit.com
02
Bad posture
Squats, or any other routine for that matter, is useless if you’re not maintaining good posture. Your head should always be upright, with the chest lifting off instead of dropping down. If your chest does drop, it indicates you’re not doing it right. A mirror might prove useful in this case, allowing you to correct yourself whenever your posture goes AWOL.
Cardio before squats www.quickanddirtytips.com
03
Cardio before squats
While cardio is just as important as squats, doing cardio before squats doesn’t really make sense. The body, especially the legs, go through a lot during cardio and aren’t in a position to go through it all again with squats. Fatigued legs could actually cause you to end up being dehydrated. To get the best of both worlds, do your squats before cardio.
Feet too close to each other www.bespoketreatments.com
04
Feet too close to each other
Every muscle in your leg is important during squats. Your feet form the base of this exercise and keeping your feet too close to each other disrupts balance. Hence, keep an optimal distance between your feet. While it varies from one person to another, maintaining the same distance as that between your shoulder and hip works best when doing this exercise.
Going heavy all the time www.pexels.com
05
Going heavy all the time
Heavy squats are undoubtedly great at building your strength and core. However, that doesn’t mean you keep increasing the weights. Sometimes, your body demands flexibility more than core strength, and this is why doing normal squats is better than going heavy at least once or twice a week. Focus on keeping your body toned and fit along with building inner strength.
Incorrect breathing squatuniversity.com
06
Incorrect breathing
Getting the right amount of oxygen in your system during squats is extremely important. It ensures that you get enough energy. However, not breathing correctly can be a problem, making squats less effective and potentially dangerous. One way to fix it is to take deep breaths right down the belly. It creates intra-abdominal pressure and helps increase gains when squatting.
Knees move ahead of the toes www.stack.com
07
Knees move ahead of the toes
Many people notice that their knees are ahead of their toes at the bottom of a squat. Although it doesn’t come off as a glaring problem, it can lead to some serious injury of the knee. Tight hips might play a role, and working to increase their flexibility is a possible cure. Keeping an eye out when squatting can also help rectify the error.
Knees move inwards www.quora.com
08
Knees move inwards
Due to lack of strength in the hips or lower body, the knees may collapse inwards. This isn’t a good sign and could significantly damage your knees, especially during heavy squats. Ideally, the knees should be pointing in the same direction as the toes. Working through the pain is one solution or you can also use bands to prevent your legs from moving.
Lack of confidence www.bodybuilding.com
09
Lack of confidence
If you convince your mind that your squats aren’t going well, you’re never going to get anything out of them, even if you did everything right. Getting your head straight and being confident is essential and can help pump that extra 10% in your squats. Focus on the hips and build confidence from there. Once you’ve got that fiery mentality, the routine will feel more like dance.
Lifting heels www.t-nation.com
10
Lifting heels
A few people might see their heels leaving the ground when they descend during a squat. This indicates that the body weight is directed forward instead of it being downward. The lifting of heels destabilizes the body and isn’t ideal, if you’re looking to gain maximum benefits. To do so, work through the pain or curl your toes upwards while descending.
No rest between sets www.bodybuilding.com
11
No rest between sets
There are various reasons why people skip the 10-15-second rest time between sets. However, that should not be done. The quick stop between sets allows you to reap everything there is from each individual set, whilst also giving your muscles time to recover. The fibers also get time to restore their glycogen stores, which gets depleted fairly quickly when you exercise.
Not challenging yourself with resistance www.coachmag.co.uk
12
Not challenging yourself with resistance
Normal, weightless squats are great if you’re just starting up. However, once you’re in the groove and ready for the next level, you have to familiarize yourself with weights. Adding these will challenge your body and bring out the hidden strength in your muscles. Initially, add only a little weight, so that you do not exert yourself and have no chance of injury.
Not focusing on other exercises www.pexels.com
13
Not focusing on other exercises
Squats are definitely useful, but they’re not a one-step solution to all your problems. A lot of other exercises and routines are just as crucial for the growth and development of your muscles. Some of them even help in increasing the benefits you gain from squats. Core exercises allow your muscles to work harder and assist your glutes and hamstrings.
Not going low enough www.runtastic.com
14
Not going low enough
If you’re not bending low when squatting, you won’t really benefit from the exercise at all. Strength comes from pressurizing your hips and legs with the frequent motion, improving flexibility and core. The right way to know whether you’re going low enough, is to check if your hips are parallel to the ground at the lowest point of the squat.
Not taking a break www.runtastic.com
15
Not taking a break
An exhausted or injured muscle would need time to heal. If you’re continuously at it seven days a week, the cells do not have enough room to breathe, which can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. These cells also need some rest to restore the glycogen level that gets depleted during workout. Therefore, try to sneak in a day of rest in a week.
Raising hips too fast www.pexels.com
16
Raising hips too fast
A common mistake people make when doing the good morning squat is raising their hips too fast when ascending. Ideally, the chest and hips should rise together, as it helps build core and strengthens both parts. Being aware of the problem is one way to treat it, as most aren’t even aware of the issue. Decreasing or totally dropping the weights is another possible cure.
Rounding lower back www.quora.com
17
Rounding lower back
Known as “butt wink,” this problem is another common mistake people make during squats. What happens is that in a bid to maintain a straight posture, people end up rounding their lower back. This puts heavy stress on the lumbar spine, which can cause injuries. Lack of flexibility in the hamstring is the main problem, and stretching it is one way to address it.
Rushing through it unsplash.com
18
Rushing through it
Quite often, people rush through their squats and do not not pay enough attention to each set. There are two problems with this: firstly, it increases your chances of injury as your body isn't balanced enough at high speed; secondly, it drains your energy without actually benefiting your muscles and ligaments. Doing it slowly and with complete concentration is the only way out.
Sticking to a squat routine www.menshealth.com
19
Sticking to a squat routine
There are numerous types of squats, and each of them is important for different types of muscles and strength. If possible, include different variations of squats in your routine, as it delivers faster results. Doing the goblet squat and kang squat in quick succession improves the glutes and the upper and lower body. Pistol squats, similarly, increases flexibility and balance.
Using squat pads gunsmithfitness.com
20
Using squat pads
The efficiency of your squats doesn’t really depend on the squat pads. It’s a useless and good-for-nothing element that will only add to your problems when exercising. The pads often feel uncomfortable and might end up causing faulty movements and bad shoulder mechanics. It also makes the barbell seem bigger than it is, which can have a psychological bearing during exercise.