Perfect Your Squat with these 4 Quick Fixes

Chances are you’ve heard that the squat is the king of all exercises. Why is it that a seemingly simple move has been around for decades and continues to be at the top of every serious weight lifter’s list?

The squat is a compound movement that activates a large number of muscle groups in the body. When used correctly, the squat results in fat loss, muscle building, and total body strength increases. Unfortunately, the squat is also one of the most common exercises performed incorrectly.

Let’s take a look at the top 4 mistakes that you may be making when you squat and how you can correct them.

Common Mistake #1: You aren’t activating your abs

While the squat focuses primarily on the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, your abdominals also play an important role. Most people are so concerned with their legs that they fail to secure proper form before they begin.

Even before you lift the bar off the rack, you need to brace your abs. Here’s how:

  • Take a deep breath
  • As you breathe out, contract your abs
  • At the same time, drive your glutes forward
  • This will pop your form up and the bar off the rack

Common Mistake #2: You are pressing with your toes

You’ve seen the squat performed time and time again and yet it’s the little things that you may not notice. As you are dropping your hips down, what do you think your feet are doing to secure the movement?

Most people naturally move to push off the group with their toes. This places your form at risk and doesn’t fully activate the primary movers.

Here’s what you should do:

  • Do a few practice squats without added weight
  • As you drop your hips, pay close attention to your feet
  • The pressure you place on your feet should be driven to your heels
  • Once you shift your weight to your heels, you’ll notice an immediate difference

Common Mistake #3: You are rounding your back

This mistake can cost you more than a good workout. Rounding your back dramatically increases your risk for injury. If you are one of many people who round the back during this exercise, it’s time to re-evaluate your form.

Here’s how to fix the problem:

  • First, do the steps listed in Common Mistake #1 – You need to have tight abs to ensure your back is straight
  • Now bring your chest up
  • Bring your shoulder blades together
  • Check your form in the mirror – Your back should form a straight line
  • Do a few practice squats focusing on these points

Common Mistake #4: You are putting the bar on your neck

You see this all too often: Guys and girls putting the barbell directly on their neck. The barbell does NOT belong on your neck. This can cause serious injury, especially if you like trying to show off with heavy weight.

Here’s where the bar needs to go:

  • Bring your shoulder blades together
  • Look in the mirror – A little shelf has formed on your upper back - These are your traps
  • This is where the bar needs to go
  • You can also bring it a little lower than your traps (Just keep it off your neck)

Tell Us What You Think!

Have you tried these quick fixes?

Did they improve your strength or how much muscle you have?

Do you have your own squat fixes?

Tell us about them in the comments section!

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