By: Betsy Stevens NCCPT | Click Here to Find Me on Facebook
Squats are one of the most popular moves in the fitness world, but if you are doing these things wrong, you could be derailing that tight and toned booty (and injure yourself, too)!
Although the squat is an incredibly effective exercise, it can also be very dangerous if done incorrectly. Also, if done wrong, the squat you are doing most likely won’t give you the results that you are looking for. Read below to see if you could potentially be putting yourself at risk for injury!
Your Breathing Is Off
Most people don’t understand the importance of breathing when working out. Proper breathing is especially important when squatting because you are working your glutes and leg muscles. These muscles are naturally very strong and some of the bigger muscles in the body. The harder you push them, the harder these bigger muscles have to work! If you are one of the many who hold their breath-and you may not even realize it- you are putting yourself at risk for becoming dizzy, seeing spots, fainting and even blacking out when working these bug muscles! Your chances of this happening increase even more if you are squatting with weights and holding your breath. Scary, huh?
Remember to breathe! The brain and muscles need oxygen function and properly work together. Breathing will also relax your nerves and will help you execute your move perfectly.
Your Form Is All Wrong
My clients get so annoyed with me when we do squats. I sound like a broken record from saying the same things over and over. Things like, “Keep your toes pointed straight ahead!” “Keep your knees behind your toes!” and “Keep your chest up!” Hey, I wouldn’t sound like a broken record if they would just do it correctly each time, right? Right. All kidding aside, form is a very important thing to master when squatting.
- Your toes should stay straight ahead so your body is positioned anatomically correct and therefore you aren’t putting yourself at risk for accidentally distributing your weight wrong and resulting in a twisted ankle.
- Your chest should stay up and proud so that you can execute proper breathing and so that your back is hunched over facing the floor.
- And of course, the most important part of having good form in a squat, which is keeping your knees bent at 90 degrees instead of having them jut out over your toes. If you look down and cannot see your toes once you are bent at the knees in a squat, you need to reevaluate your positioning.
- Keep in mind that squatting is a lot like sitting down in a chair. When you sit down in a chair, do you push your knees forward? No! You push your butt back and down into the seat. Same goes for squatting!
You Are Using Too Much Weight
This one gets under some peoples skin when I say it. Especially those who work out with friends or significant others and are trying to be competitive. Sure, being able to squat more than the person you are competing with is great for the ego. But, if you ask me, your pride isn’t worth the potential permanent injury you could be setting yourself up for.
By squatting too much weight, you are putting yourself at risk for seriously damaging your knees. And by seriously damaging, I mean damaging them for good. I know too many people who had great knees but then they got cocky or risky with the amount of weight they were lifting and then their knees gave out or they ended up tearing something.
Not only could you hurt your knees, but if you carry the weight over your head or on your shoulders like many do, there is potential for causing a long term kink in your neck. Your neck isn’t meant to support hundreds of pounds, so be aware of how you have your weight distributed next time you are in the cage or on the smith machine.
The squat isn’t scary and in no way am I trying to steer you clear of the squat. Proper form and technique is just a must if you want to continue excelling and preforming at your best. Next time you are implementing the squat into your workout, keep these 3 things in the back of your head. Make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk by making one mistake that could have easily been prevented.