Squats

lifts-squat-muscles-used

Phlexd.com is not a workout site

But…

When a national gym chain (who we will spare the shame of naming) puts up a video guide to squat form that’s NOT good form, well, we have to have our say.

 

 

The Squat

The squat is the building block of any good weight training programme, be that putting on muscle or losing fat.

Aside from working some of the largest muscles in the body, squatting also works almost every muscle group, and as a result are a great method of naturally increasing testosterone (itself a great hormone for muscle building and fat loss).

So lets look at how NOT to squat.

There is a huge library of examples and an entire afternoon of fails viewing on YouTube, so we’ve picked a couple of examples (and we apologise to anyone if we picked your video but it’s clearly marked as bad form in the title so guessed you wouldn’t be upset…)


Try watching the second one again without wincing…

From experience, the biggest problem with squats form is ego. Squatting properly at 60kg is worth ten times a half squat and loud grunt at 120Kg, and with a significantly reduced chance of (potentially severe) injury.

How do we squat with good form?

As a toddler, we pretty much live in a squat position (aside from the sleeping and eating), but when we grow older and our limbs change proportion it stops being such a natural position. This means we need to concentrate on a few basics:

  • Knees shoulder width apart, pointing slightly out (around 30°)
  • Bar resting across the top of your back. Front squats are also available although some fine the weight harder to maintain.
  • Solid core – keep it engaged throughout
  • Thighs should go at least parallel to the floor
  • Keep your back straight (keeping your eyes focused on a wall point at head level helps here)
  • Push up using the whole lower body – glutes and quads
  • Stop when your form degrades (i.e. keep the ego in check)

A couple of personal hints that work for us:

  • Don’t use lifting belts, your core should be doing this job
  • Don’t use bar wraps or towels, it makes the weight less secure and has a tendency to wobble
  • Steer clear of the Smith machine. It’s tempting to think it is safer but the angles are all wrong. Find a decent squat/power rack

A very good and in depth form guide to the squat has been pushed out here by our friends over at Stronglifts.com, which although long, is well worth the effort to read.

Oh, and squats always need rewarding with a fast acting post-workout protein fix, ideally drunk during the “leg day shuffle” out of the gym…