Proper Squat Technique – Are You Sure You’re Doing Squats Correctly? - GGP
Proper Squat Technique

Proper Squat Technique - Are You Sure You're Doing Squats Correctly?

What is a Squat?

2. How to squat correctly

Squats are one of the best exercises for the lower body and it also helps to get the core stronger.

It can work to improve the musculature of your thighs and buttock areas in particular. Squats work the whole body and is classified as a compound exercise movement.

There are different types of squats and to start off you can use your own bodyweight as resistance and later augment it with added weights.

They also have several other benefits including helping increase your metabolism, aid digestion and improve posture.

How to squat correctly?

How to squat correctly

When it comes to squats even though it is a basic motion you’ll find there is room to make mistakes. To get the most of any exercise and prevent damage to your body you need to make sure that you use the correct technique when you’re doing it.

Squats easily and quickly build up muscles and strength if done right, so let’s look at how to do them.

  • First you need to set yourself up. This is easy and all you need to do is stand with feet slightly apart and wider than your hips toes slightly pointed outward (5 – 18 degrees). Keep looking straight ahead and focus on a point on the wall. This is to prevent you from looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling.
  • If you are doing a bodyweight squat, make sure you put your arms straight out in front of you and keep them parallel to the ground at all time. You should check if your spine is in a neutral position and you shouldn’t round your back. Or the other way, don’t hyperextend it either which could cause injuries.
  • Make sure that the weight is focused on the balls and heel of your feet. Make sure that you hold your core tight the entire time.
  • Before starting on the movement, take a deep breath in and push your butt back. Begin to bend at the knees and go as long as you can go. Whilst doing this, make sure that your spine is neutral and you focus on your back in the same starting position. Keep your knees in line with your feet.
  • Your aim is to get your hip joint lower than your knee. This is what is called in fitness circles as getting ‘parallel’.
  • Once you’re ready to get back up, push on the balls of your feet to power upwards. Drive your knees similar to what you did going down. It’s also important to remember to squeeze your butt and use your glutes.
  • Repeat till your legs feel the burn.

How to do squat exercise at home

How to do squat exercise at home

You don’t need to get a gym if you want to squat.

The same instructions are good enough when you feel like you need to get this done at home. Just make sure that you have about 3 feet of space in all directions around you before you start.

Footwear is definitely recommended because it can offer you more grip when you are focused on movement.

How to do squat without weights

How to do squat without weights

You don’t need weights to squat initially, all you need to do is use your own bodyweight as resistance.

But once you are regularly doing this, you might need to increase the amount of weight that you are using for squats which means that you might have to consider using weights.

What are the benefits of squats?

3. What are the benefits of squats
  • Builds overall musculature as it is a compound movement also increasing overall muscle mass as well.
  • Since it is a functional movement, it can help you perform real-life activities a lot easier.
  • Burns a lot more fat per time spent than other types of exercises.
  • Your body getting stronger means that you have lesser injuries to take care of.
  • It works your entire physique so you’ll get a toned overall look to your body.
  • Lastly, it helps with improved bowel movements and removing wastes from your body.

Benefits of squats for men

Benefits of squats for men
  • Quickly builds muscle density throughout the body
  • Increases testosterone through better hormonal response
  • Improves knee and back mobility
  • Increased metabolism and fat burn

Benefits of squats for women

Benefits of squats for women
  • Increases bone density leading to stronger bones to fight against osteoporosis
  • Get those sexy looking legs everyone covets
  • Rid of your body of cellulite
  • They are non-impact and do not put a strain on your back

Benefits of squats without weights

Benefits of squats without weights
  • Good starting point for beginners
  • Improves body’s flexibilityY
  • You can squat a lot deeper without weights

Bulgarian Split Squat Benefits

Bulgarian Split Squat Benefits

It is a much more focused form of the traditional squat.

It also builds muscle at the same rate or a lot quicker depending on how much load you are talking about.

It acts as a good variation to work all the angles of the lower body rather than just plain bulking up associated with heavy loads of the traditional squat.

Ideally, you shouldn’t replace traditional squats with this; rather use this as a proper augment to your lower body routine at the gym.

Overhead Squat Benefits

Overhead Squat Benefits

It puts more work on your shoulder and upper body areas increasing their mobility and improving overall musculature. Pectoral muscles get a lot of attention when doing overhead squats.

Anderson Squat Benefits

Anderson Squat Benefits

This was named after Paul Anderson, who was a World champion and an Olympic champion who mostly achieved his legendary strength through a regimen comprised mostly of home-made training tools.

The Anderson squat is also called the pin squat and is followed by a lot of people around the world.

It involves moving the weight from a deadstop upwards, which is a lot more difficult than traditional squats.

Benefits of squats for weight loss

Benefits of squats for weight loss

Since squats are a compound exercise, it has the capability to employ a lot more muscles than just curling or other forms of workout. What this means is that since different muscles are engaged you will see a lot of difference when it comes to losing weight when you squat regularly.

How many squats per day

How many squats per day

It definitely has a huge variance depending on various factors like body type, fitness levels and musculature.

The best way to gauge how many is when you do this until you is done and then push for 2 more. Do this for 3 sets every day and increase reps when you find the going easy.

Front squat benefits

Front squat benefits

When doing squats with front position, the load falls more to the front portion which increases your work done.

Again, this shouldn’t be a movement that you should consider as a replacement for the traditional form of squat.

What are Bodyweight squats?

4. What are Bodyweight squats

Using your bodyweight to execute the squat movement is basically called bodyweight squats.

We have already seen in detail what body weight squats can do for your body and how much you are able to gain from using no weights at all.

Bodyweight squats variations

Bodyweight squats variations

There are several variations of bodyweight squats you can use if you’re bored with the regular version. Let’s look at a few of them:

  • Prisoner Squats
  • Plie Squats
  • Sumo Squats
  • Split Leg Squats
  • Jump Squats
  • Pistol Squats
  • Overhead Squats
  • Hindu Squats
  • Wall Squats
  • Rolling Squats
  • Side Squats

Bodyweight squats for mass

Bodyweight squats everyday

While it is difficult to build mass using just bodyweight, it is far from impossible.

The key is to be explosive as possible and making sure that each rep counts.

Another key is to try as many helpful variations of the squats that is possible and make them work for you.

Bodyweight squats everyday

Bodyweight squats everyday

A lot of people recommend that you do squats every day.

One reason is that it’s a non-impact exercise that builds muscle strength and bone density. So it is good for people of all ages, even kids.

Bodyweight squats results

Bodyweight squats results

Unlike other forms of resistance training, compound exercises show results really quickly.

With squats with just a month or so you will begin to see dramatic results.

And the best part is that it’s not just the lower body either, your entire body will begin to seem dramatically different.

How to do a front squat?

5. How to do a front squat

We’ve already touched a bit on the front squats, but here we will look at it in some detail.

The front squat involved resting the barbell on the anterior deltoids and clavicles so the weight is more or less right on top of you.

The set up to this would be quite similar to the back squat but here you need to nestle it right between the clavicles while fully standing.

Your grip should be the one you use for cleans or bench press and you need to take care that you only use the finger to hook on to the bar rather than putting your full grip on it.

Get under the bar and position yourself such that the barbell is right under the clavicle. Partially hook hands right on the bar, so you can have some degree of control on it.

Un-racking the bar is when you will know a few things right away about the lift – if the weight is right and if you’re ready.

Also, this is very important because this makes sure you’ll be in the right position every time you are prepared to lift.

This section follows the same sequence as the traditional squat.

After the dip and drive up like a regular squat you’ll need to rack the bar back on the stand. This is accomplished by doing the reverse of the un-rack procedure.

Front dumbbell squats

Front dumbbell squats

If you don’t have a barbell to work with when you are doing your squats, assuming that you are travelling or not at your regular place of body worship, then you can easily use dumbbells.

Front dumbbell squats are a good substitute to the regular barbell front squats. This has the same benefits of a typical front squat but to a lesser degree.

Front squat muscles worked

Front squat muscles worked

Front squats are important in the fact that it needs a lot more mobility than other forms of squat exercises.

It puts a lot of work on the upper back, wrists and shoulder to ensure that you are doing it with the correct form. Front squats are responsible for increased strength in the quads and upper back.

Front squat cross grip

Front squat cross grip

When it comes to front squats there are 2 basic types of grips clean and cross grips.

Ideally, people are trained with the clean grip, but when some people have mobility issues they opt for cross grip which is a lot easier than the clean grip.

The reason is because a lot of people don’t have the wrist flexibility for a clean grip. All said, there is no difference between clean and cross grips when it comes to movement of the exercise or the weight distribution.

Front squat CrossFit

Front squat CrossFit

A lot of CrossFitters use this as one of their primary compound exercise movement in the box.

Since CrossFit also focuses on movement and mobility rather than just strength, the front squat is favored among a lot of people in a CrossFit box.

How to do barbell squats?

6. How to do barbell squats

Earlier, we saw how you could do bodyweight squats.

Using the barbell is a step above the regular bodyweight variety. You have to contend with your body weight as well as the barbell and added weights if any.

Out of the several methods of squats, we will now look at the absolute benchmark when it comes to squats or exercises in general, the back squat.If you’re moving to barbell squats from bodyweight squats, you need to start slow and steady before you move on to the heavier weights. Let’s now look at how you go about squatting with barbells.

The setup has a few things you need to check off the list before you start lifting.

The bar should be low enough for you to take it off the supports.

A mid chest level would be something that we think would be great. Deciding on the grip, if you are a smaller lifter, then you would have a close grip.

If you have problems with mobility then you are advised to have it far apart.

Un-racking the bar is something that needs your attention especially if you are a just starting out.

Get feet under the bar at a comfortable width, choose your position (high or low bar) taking care to have a comfortable but tight grip.

Breathe in and push firmly upward when you are under the bar to unrack it. Step back or forward depending and then once you’re in position, breathe out.

With knees out, go down keeping your torso taut and with controlled breathing.

You should make sure that all the weight is on your heels and it should never transfer to the front of your feet. Get comfortable with the depth first, there is no need to rush to achieve parallel.

Slowly drive upwards, making sure the weight is on you heel and your knees are still outward.

Get into the position you started with and make sure that you are able to go for another rep if you are going to. Else, rack it and voila, you’ve completed your squat set.

How to do squats with dumbbells?

7. How to do squats with dumbbells

If for some reason you are not able to get barbells to work out with, dumbbells will suffice. The only drawback being that you will not have a complete workout when you compare dumbbells with barbells.

This works pretty much like the traditional squat we talked about the only difference being that with dumbbells they are held on either side of your body and the other is similar to a front squat but without barbells.

Zercher squat vs. front squat

8. Zercher squat vs. front squat

The Zercher squat is an interesting variation of the traditional front squat.

If you are finding it difficult to mount a front squat either with a traditional grip or a cross grip, then you might find this useful.

Zercher squats are regularly practiced by strongmen and sportsmen who are looking for better athletic performance in their niche.

Front squat vs. back squat

9. Front squat vs. back squat

This is the question everyone has at the back of their minds when performing squats, especially athletes who are always looking at even small increments in performance.

When it comes to differences, both are different from each other in the areas they work on and the kind of mobility that is required to execute either one of them.

In short, front squats are preferred by athletes because it requires great mobility to execute rather than back squats which are all to do with strength.

Strongmen and generally people who are not that mobile enough would turn to back squats for their fitness.

FAQ about squats

Do squats really work?

If you are looking for one of the best, non-impact exercise movements that has multiple benefits including fat bursting and calorie burning, then yes, squats work wonders!

What do squats do for your butt?

Squats are a compound exercise and work a lot of the important muscles in your body.

But it is most focused on your lower body and your gluteal muscles (buttock) benefit a lot from them.

It removes cellulite and makes sure that it is toned and tight. As an added advantage, you also get great legs to go with the butt.

What muscle does squats work?

Squats work the gluteal muscles, thighs, quadriceps, and hamstrings, while also strengthening the bones, tendons and ligaments from various areas of your body.

Do squats burn belly fat?

While selectively burning belly fat is just not possible, squats are known to burn a lot of fat all over the body. This in turn translates into significant weight loss for you.

Do squats work abs?

Squats work the core muscles in the body in order to keep your body stabilized and balanced, so yes, it does work the abs also.

However, just squatting will not give you a six-pack washboard, you also need to focus on your diet to make sure that happens.

How many calories do squats burn?

You can derive this by multiplying 0.096 with your weight in pounds. So if you are 180 pounds, you will burn approximately 17.28 calories per minute which translates into around 1040 calories per hour.

Should I do squats everyday?

If you are an athlete or someone who believes in maxing out workout at the gym, then yes, you need to have rest days for certain areas of your body.

Otherwise, if you are just focusing on fitness, you are encouraged to squat every day because it has several benefits.

Are squats good for you?

They definitely do help your fitness levels and confidence when it comes to your own body.

Also, squatting with proper form can give you better posture and better balance to deal with everyday activities.

Do I Squat Barefoot?

There is no evidence to prove that barefoot squatting isn’t giving you all the benefits the exercise normally would, so if you are comfortable doing it, you should go right ahead.

How many squats to see results?

Unfortunately, there is no real answer to this question. However, when you squat you work over 200 muscles in your body which means that most of your body is engaged.

This means that you will get quick results when squats are involved when compared to other forms of exercise.

Do squats make your thighs bigger?

Squatting involves considerable effort from the lower body including the thighs but rather than getting bigger, you thighs get toned. If you have fat around the thigh area, squatting will get rid of it.

Conclusion

Considering that squats are renowned for their ability to sculpt award winning physiques, it makes sense to try it at home and get all the benefits that it has to offer. So like they say in gyms all over the world, “Shut up and squat!”