The squat is not only considered the king of all lower body exercises, but is also one that gets performed incorrectly quite often. In this video, I’m going to show you the 10 most common mistakes when it comes to squatting and how to avoid them to make sure you perform the lift correctly every time.
Now, before you say that you can’t squat because one or more body part ails you; I am going to tell you that there is always a squat variation that you can do. Whether that’s an air squat, drop squat, Bulgarian split squat, goblet squat, or squatting to a box – there is something for everyone. Not only that, but this list will apply to each variation as well.
The first mistake when it comes to any squat tutorial, is not knowing your width, Knowing how wide your stance should be is important when it comes to squatting not only comfortably, but optimally as well. Proper stance will allow for better mechanics and overall muscle recruitment, too.
We often hear that when you squat, you should turn your toes out. Squat mistake number 2 occurs when we don’t rotate our hips to match that alignment. If you squat with your toes pointed out and your knees tracking straight ahead, you are lining yourself up for future knee pain when squatting. Simply make sure that you rotate your hips so your knees travel in the same direction of your toes when you descend into the hole.
Next, you’ve probably heard that you should never allow for your knees to travel past your toes when you squat – this fear itself is a mistake. To allow for proper dorsiflexion of the ankle and the ability to squat to proper depth, there may be a requirement for your knees to move past your toes. Being afraid can lead to compensations and shortchanges elsewhere, which will ultimately cause your squat to suffer.
The fourth common squat mistake you should avoid is that you de-couple your chest and pelvis. When you squat, your chest and pelvis should be moving together as a single unit. When ascending from the bottom of the squat, if the hips rise before the chest, you risk performing a good morning instead of a squat. This can have serious repercussions on your lower back, so remember to keep both moving together at the same time for a better squat.
This mistake might occur simply because you didn’t know the importance of this muscle when learning how to squat – losing tightness in your lats. By not engaging the lats, you lose rigidity in the upper torso which leads to rounding of the thoracic spine. This rounding will lead to weakness and inefficiency throughout the squat, which means you will sacrifice how much weight you can actually squat.
The average squat how-to might not mention this, but using a neck pad can indeed cause a problem when you squat. While designed to make the bar resting on your back more comfortable, it comes at a cost. The optimal placement of the pad is on the C7 vertebrae, which when compressed by the weight of the bar, can lead to numbness and tingling in the hands and arms. This is something you are definitely going to want avoid at all costs.
While not a mistake with the performance of the exercise, forgetting to include unilateral training is a squat mistake nonetheless. By not addressing any possible weaknesses or imbalances, you risk compensations elsewhere in the lift. These compensations have the potential to lead to injury if not addressed early, as force is not even distributed between the legs throughout concentric portion of the exercise.
When it comes to the squat, more of us make this mistake than we care to admit and that’s preparing for the squat with a proper warmup. I’m not talking about just adding a few extra sets at lower weights, but about getting our bodies prepared to get under the bar in the first place. Not properly warming up can lead to not being able to move as much weight as you potentially could, but can lead to injury as well.
One of the biggest squat mistakes you can make is adding weight to the bar without establishing a solid foundation. Albeit a slower process, making sure that you’re progressing without cracks in your base and commanding weight without compensations will allow you to squat more weight without risk of injury. Remember, there is no need to rush the process!
The final mistake on this list is one that I covered in detail in another squat form video that I will link for you below.
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How to Squat Properly (MAJOR FORM FIX) – https://youtu.be/nEQQle9-0NA
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