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20120326100440-propersquatbaby

Guide posted by Coachgold Adrian K in Squatters

How to squat - the form guide

Squats, next to deadlifts, are the best exercise for lower body development and have the advantage of being able to be performed using only bodyweight, but it is an exercise that is performed incorrectly by the majority of people in gyms everywhere, and can be a difficult technique to get your head around as a beginner, especially as most people develop faults in their posture through everyday life.

Below is a picture of a toddler squatting down, the baby actually performs the movement properly, (toddlers have not yet had a chance to learn bad postural habits, and move more naturally) the way it should be done when exercising to maintain a safe position, especially if you are carrying a heavy loaded barbell on your back.

Key points

  • Maintain a strong lumbar (lower back)
  • Keep your torso upright, and your chest up and out, shoulders back
  • Head in the neutral position, eyes looking slightly above you
  • Feet shoulder width apart, with weight on the heels and midfoot and NOT the toes
  • Knees come forward slightly, over but not too far beyond the toes
  • Crease of the hips and upper legs should move beyond parrallel at the bottom of the movement

Final advice: Imagine that you are sitting back into a chair, with your chest up, looking slightly above yourself.

20120326100440-propersquatbaby

Responses (13)

Yea Brotha ...my partner and I just took on The Hack Squat machine...no weight, all the way to the bottom till your backside hits..then slow up with toes up...F N killer.

Paul P responded Comment

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I love the toddler example, they also do a flawless downface dog yoga pose!

Aimee T responded Comment

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The only thing I would respectfully disagree with in your guide is the 'neutrality' of your head. The head is not in line with the spine during a squat if you are looking up or slightly above you. It actually puts stress on the cervical vertebrae. True 'neutral' is looking at a spot on the floor in front of you. A great cue for this is trying to hold a tennis ball between your chin and your chest as you squat.

Jeremy D responded Comment

20131126112258-adrian

I agree actually. Although as a tip for beginners I sometimes tell them to look slightly higher just because it helps to keep the chest up, stopping the back from rounding.

Jeremy D and Neha B encouraged this.

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Have you read the book "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe? Amazing book. One of my goals is to put together a curriculum for a squat clinic using his book as a guide.

Jeremy D responded Comment

20131126112258-adrian

I have spent a lot of time on starting strengths wiki site, Rippetoe squats are very recognisable. Interested to hear if you ever watch the EFTS videos or have heard of that gym? Their tutorials on squats are quite different to rippetoes. Goes to show there is more than one way to do it.

Jeremy D encouraged this.

20120704031101-jdoolittle

Oooh, sounds interesting. No I've never heard of EFTS. Do you have a link you could share for their squat tutorials?

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@adrian that was awesome! such a great series of videos. I really appreciate you sharing that. Not sure which opinion I believe about the head position =)

Jeremy D responded Comment

20131126112258-adrian

I think its possible to squat both ways, as long as you treat them like different excercises and dont mix up the theories. I usually do 3 sets of high bar, head up, ass to grass squats, followed by 3 sets of low bar rippetoe squats.

20131126112258-adrian

and I record the weights for these two as if they were different excercises as well, for example I dont presume that because I can low bar squat 130kg I can do the same with high bar.

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What position should your knees be in during the squat? Slightly open or closed?

Wikus M responded Comment

20131126112258-adrian

Its best to push your knees outwards (contracting your glutes) and not letting them buckle in as this can lead to injury.

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Ok, reto del primer día logrado :)

Mike M responded Comment

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Love the toddler example pic so cut and clever.... starting 1st 25 today!

Kristen M responded Comment

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The toddler is a great visual!

Karin S responded Comment

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can I do squats if I have patellofemoral pain syndrome? (pain during knee flexion caused by the contact of the posterior surface of the patella with the femur) 

Nasy M responded Comment

20131126112258-adrian

Hey Nasy, what sort of things have you done to try and overcome patellofemoral syndrome? Check out this post on MobilityWod - http://www.mobilitywod.com/2012/05/voodoo-band-your-patella-femoral-pain/ Kelly Starrett is great at correcting all kinds of mobility and pain issues. He has a book as well, which serves as a manual for using the human body, called "Becoming a Supple Leapoard". Do some more reading around it and I'm sure you will find a way to be able to squat again.

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