You Don’t Know SQUATS: Avoid These Five Squat Mistakes!

You Don’t Know Squats: Avoid These Five Squat Mistakes!

Colin McGarty

Are you squatting the right way? 

Avoid these five squat mistakes to maximize your workouts!  The squat is a simple exercise that many people mess up.  In fact, we don’t recommend that you grab a barbell or any heavy objects for squats, until you can do some decent looking bodyweight squats first.  You will build a strong and sexy set of wheels, prevent injuries, and avoid achy knees with these five tips.





1.Keep Your Back Flat!

One of the biggest squat mistakes beginners make is to round their back.  This isn’t necessarily a problem with a bodyweight squat; however, as you start to add weight and load your spine, you are setting yourself up for a back injury. 

The rule is to keep a neutral spine.  Many folks confuse this with an upright torso.  Some people, especially taller lifters will lean forward.  The forward lean is ok and natural, it’s more about keeping a neutral, flat back.  If you are rounding your spine time to fix it! 

2.Keep Your Heels Down!

Many lifters naturally tend to lift their heels up as they descend into the squat position.  Squatting on your toes will increase your chance of knee, hip, back and foot injuries and severely limit your ability to move any substantial amount of weight in the future.  This is often caused by tight ankles.  If you are squatting heels up, time to stretch and mobilize the ankles, and you may want to place a weight plate under your heels while you are working on fixing it. 

3.Your Knees Cave In!

A common mistake among many lifters is to have one, or even both knees, collapse inward during the descent of the squat. Trainers call this valgus knee or knock knee during squats.  This can contribute to knee injuries. Usually it can be fixed by coaching them to drive their knees out and it often is a sign of week glutes.  To avoid injury and fix this, practice shoving your knees out, possibly even placing a mini band around your thighs to reinforce the new pattern, and start working your glutes until the problem is solved.


4.Bouncing Your Squats

Avoid the twerk, or bouncing into the bottom position of your squats.  Ever seen a new lifter free fall into the bottom of a squat and then bounce back up?  Some elite lifters weightlifters use the bounce to rebound out of the bottom position of a squat.  This is referred to as compensatory acceleration.  However, if you are training for fitness you will get far more bang for your buck, and avoid injury by using a controlled tempo on you squat.  Stick with a speed that lets you feel the your muscles working.


5.How Low Can You Go?

Not everyone needs rock bottom, ass to grass, squats!  When I first started coaching I used to try and force this.  If your toilet seat is below parallel, then you need to squat below parallel just to take care of business…

BUT after watching hundreds of people squat, I now realize that the right depth varies from person to person.  Anatomy, flexibility, mobility and injury history are key factors in squat depth.  So, what’s the right depth?

Squat to the lowest point that still looks great and follows all the above rules.  If you look beautiful squatting to parallel, but then go below that, and you butt wink, rounding your spine, and your left knee collapses, don’t do it!  Squat to the lowest position that still looks great and allows you to maintain integrity.


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