What kind of squat do you do?
Would you like to know How To Squat? Or have you ever been taught to squat by someone and then when you tried it, it didn’t seem to feel right; or it possibly even hurt you?
Don’t sweat it! This happens everyday as we watch someone lift, and automatically think that they would be able to help us do what they do. Squat with power!
The problem is, that person is an expert on his or her own body only, or that person does not know how to lift correctly and although you watched them move a crazy amount of weight, it was done with the wrong body parts (I’ll get into that in another post).
Before you listen to someone in the gym. here’s what you should know about squats:
The Squat is an intricate lift and each person has a body type that creates slight variations in movement to accomodate how he or she squats. And unfortunately, this is not factored in when “rules” somehow appear out of nowhere. An example of which would be the myth of not allowing your knees to go past your toes.
In this specific case, there are three basic variables that you should consider before adopting this “rule”.
1) How long are your bones? Specifically the thigh bones.
2) Which type of squat are you doing?
3) How low are you going?
The human body, when it moves in just the right way, can do amazing things, yet when it does not move as smoothly or as well aligned as it should, damage under the skin can occur. This can come in the form of excessive joint wear, low back pain, knee pain and severe tissue damage to name a few.
I know, this may sound a little complex, but don’t worry, you’re in the right place and it’ll just be a matter of time before you master this full body lift that can make you strong, fit and lean all in one fell swoop!
So, What Do I do To Find Out What Squat Technique Works For Me?
The firs thing you should do is look at your goals and what you’d like to accomplish. If you’re going into Olympic Lifting, then you will want to qualify your depth and reveal your restrictions using the exercises for that particular type of lift.
Yet, if your goal is Power Lifting, then you would adopt the tests used to qualify the squat they use.
And finally, if your goal is lifting for fitness, then your squat should be built around comfort and protection of joints.
For example, if you want to squat and have bad knees, then you would be better suited for a power lifting squat.
If you had back issues and wanted to resolve them while continuing to train, then an Olympic style squat would be better suited for that purpose.
I’ll tell you a secret; well, it’s not really a secret, yet it is quite interesting to note with all the confusion that lies in how to squat.
The secret is this, when you are deep in the hole (rock bottom squat), the human body only has one way to support the weight. And for most, the knees are all in the same spot in relation to the foot.
And for many the knees are beyond the toes!
The variance comes in the torso, which occurs when the body cannot accomodate an *upright torso, or the lifter chooses to push the hips out further to generate more power off of the back side (what the are calling these days the “posterior chain”).
* The term “upright torso” refers to the position of the torso in relation to the position of the hips and doesn’t necessarily mean a straight and upright position.
The first big tip on how to squat!
When beginning a new venture it is always best to absorb information and knowledge, yet more importantly, you should always question the logic and reasoning behind that knowledge.
In sport and fitness, all too often, we just do what others say without questioning, and when our body breaks or becomes injured, we never think to ask, did those exercises do that?
Sadly, the longevity of your body and the way in which it ages and wears, is in the hands of those who coach you.
So, to help you undestand the squat and some common sense behind it I am going to fill you in on another “secret” (well it’s not really a secret).
Science has often repeated that the shortest distance between to points is a straight line. And when you learn how to squat, you’ll want to start with this (and keeping the natural curve in your low back).
Point “A” is you standing upright, and point “B” is you at the end of your squat, when you descend and ascend, the bar should be traveling in a straight line. If, by chance it moves forward 🙁 , a weight tansfer has occurred, and more importantly, you’ve just added more pressure to your low back!
Wo Wo Wo, one sec! There’s more
One more thing before you hit the gym, your garage or your choice of training facilites; the bar can travel in a straight line and still be quite dangerous and ineffective for your body.
When it travels that straight line, the bar should also be on the heels! Yes, even in a power squat, when done correctly, the bar should still be aligned with your heels.