Squats is a strength building compound exercise which works on your hamstrings, gluteus, hips and quadriceps. They also help strengthen the bones and ligaments throughout the lower body. Squats are 1 of the three primary exercises, the others being deadlift and bench press.
Correct Form Of Squats
Here is a step by step guide to perform the squats exercise correctly.
- Stand in a squat rack and place the back of your shoulders under the barbell. Either load appropriate weight earlier or ask someone to load it now.
- The barbell should be resting across the muscles on the top of your back, and not your neck. Add some padding if the barbell does not feel perfect.
- Place your feet slightly shoulder width apart and place your hands on the barbell by taking them behind and over the barbell. Lift the barbell off the rack, pushing with your legs, so that now its resting across your upper back muscles only. This is your starting position.
- Keeping your back straight, head up and a slight bend at your knees, inhale as you go down. Make sure you dont lean forward as you go down.
- Go down till your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Now push yourself back up to starting position using your legs, exhaling as you do so.
- This completes one repetition. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Alternate Exercises: Hack Squats, Front Squats, Box Squats, Overhead Squats
Variations To Squats- Dumbbell Squats
Dumbbell Squats are a great variation for those who cannot lift heavy weights with a barbell, or for beginners. All you need is a pair of dumbbells.
- Hold the dumbbells in each hand, palms facing towards each other. The dumbbells will be perpendicular to the floor during the entire exercise.
- Keeping your head up and back straight, lower the dumbbells to the floor, making sure that your buttocks go back and down. Prevent yourself from leaning forward.
- Go down till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then push back up to the starting position. Keep the dumbbells pointing straight down throughout the motion.
Squat Tips- Keep Yourself Safe
There are a few tips you must keep in mind while performing the squats exercise. They will help you prevent any knee or leg injury.
- There is no such thing as a “safe-partial-squat”. The safest squat is when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Anything partial will damage your knees in the long run. If you think that a full squat will be damaging, ask the kids who sit in that position.
- Keep our head up. The moment you bow your head, your back rounds up and this is an invitation for potential back injury.
- Keep your muscles tensed. When your core muscles will be tensed, they will help keep your back straight. With an exercise working on around 250 muscles, getting this right is very crucial.
- Do not buckle your knees during the movement. This will put unnecessary strain on your knee joints. Push your knees outward when you go up.
- Push through your heels. That is what the heels are meant to do. Push the weight up through the heels and not the ball of your feet.
- Keep your knees behind your toes. This is a basic signal which tells that you are not leaning forward and are doing the exercise correctly.
- Step back, not forward. Always unrack the bar by stepping back, not forward. This will help you keep balance while un-racking.
- Wear a belt, and keep a spotter handy. A belt will keep your core tight, something that is a necessity here. A spotter will help in keeping a look out at you, and help in case something is about to go wrong.
Muscles Used In Squats
Around 250 muscles are used in the squats exercise. The primary muscles used are :
- Erector Spinae
- Rectus Abdominis (Abs)