The One Thing You MUST Do to Perform Perfect Squats!!
The squat is a tremendous exercise.
Likely, the squat is also also one of the exercises most often performed incorrectly.
I’ve been squatting all my life (in the gym, I mean!) and all my life I have been cheating myself of maximum results by not performing them correctly.
Not long ago, that changed. Among the adjustments I have recently been taught, a simple one really brought together the totality of my squat’s form.
First, let’s be clear: I’m no kinesiology professional, though I have experienced my share of fitness successes.
While I’m no expert, my trainer at Olympix Fitness (here, in Long Beach, California) is.
The squat is a complex exercise with many aspects that you should yearn to perfect, to include your breathing pattern and the maintenance of a strong core throughout the duration of the movement. However, there is one essential detail that can be perfected that will draw all of the squat’s associated aspects into harmony.
But, first, consider this: For my entire life (up until a few months ago), the depth of my squat never dropped below parallel (to the ground), and I scoffed at the benefit of going lower. I blamed my inability to go “butt-to-the-ground” on my lack of flexibility.
The real reason that I wasn’t performing my squats to their maximum effect was because of my ignorance of the essential detail that you are about to learn.
Clearly, this is poor squat form.
Even this gentleman can experience the benefits of deep, perfectly performed squats by adhering strictly to the one essential detail of squat form.
During a squat, your body will naturally try to compensate for any deficiency in your legs’ strength. Which, alone, is not necessarily a bad thing.
Unfortunately, when the back begins to engage such that it overtakes the effort of your legs, your upper body will tend to hinge forward, thus preventing you from driving deep into your squat and, ultimately, causing you to work an unintended muscle group.
Make sure that your elbows are always directly under the bar during the duration of the entire squat movement.
In the picture above, you can imagine a straight line from the barbell directly down through the elbows. This technique is now YOUR technique.
The position of the elbows, directly below the bar, should remain this way as much as possible throughout the squat, both down and up.
This little tweak will go a long way toward preventing your upper body from hinging forward and, thus, robbing you of the gnarly leg workout that you had intended.
I’ve been minding this detail during my squats with the utmost focus and, naturally, I’ve discovered myself dropping deeper during my repetitions. After each set, the result feels entirely different — more thorough, strengthening, and invigorating — than I’ve ever gained from doing squats the old way.
- Position your elbows correctly while cueing up for the exercise. You should be able to imagine a straight line from the bar to your elbows.
- While dropping down, THINK ABOUT THE POSITION OF YOUR ELBOWS!!!
- While driving upward, despite your body’s attempt to flare them outward, KEEP YOUR ELBOWS STRAIGHT UNDER THE BAR!!
With this little adjustment, you will quickly find yourself enjoying the leg-shredding benefits of deep, powerful squats!