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Proper Technique for Squats

Author:   Peter Sedesse MD

Proper Technique for Squats is Important to Prevent Injuries

The squat is one of the most basic and important exercises for men and women of any fitness level. While there are many different varieties of squats, the general motion and health benefits are similar. For this article, we will be describing the basic squat that uses only body weight as resistance. As you progress with this basic squat exercise, other variations such as the clean squat, overhead squat or faster paced versions should be considered.

Squats, especially those done with weights can be dangerous if fatigue causes you to lose proper technique. If done correctly, there should be no strain on the lower back or knees. In the image used below, the woman is extending her hands in front of her body. This will help with balance.

Things to pay attention to while performing squats

1. One of the most important things to remember when performing a squat is to push your heels into the ground. You should not roll up onto your toes. Your heels should be where most of your body weight rests and they should not come off the ground at any point in the exercise.

2. Most injuries with squats occur with the knees and lower back. As shown in the diagram, and important part of reducing the risk of knee injuries is to not allow your knee to go more forward than your toes. this is indicated by the red line labelled 2. Another less common mistake is allowing the knees to flare outward to the sides. As you lower yourself during the exercise, focus on keeping your knees directly above your toes. Do not allow them to go forward, or outward.

3. For basic squats, the recommended turn position is where the hips and knees form a straight line that is parallel to the ground. Going lower than this position can put excess strain on the knees. Going to this horizontal position will activate all of the large muscles of your lower body without unnecessary injury risk.

4. If all three steps listed above are done correctly, the back should already be maintaining a very good and safe position. If you are having difficulty keeping steady balance, raise your hands out in front of you as you are lowering yourself. Do not allow your shoulders to curl forward. As you lower yourself, it should feel a little like your shoulders and butt are bring pressed backwards, but without arching your back too much. As you reach the bottom or turn point of the exercise, the butt should be pressed backwards for full muscle usage.
                                                    Technique for

Use Reps and Weight to Vary Intensity

The amount of repetitions to perform depends on your fitness level, goals and if you are using body weight or using additional weights. For beginners, three sets of ten repetitions can be increased to three sets of twenty repetitions as fitness levels improve.

Proper Technique for Squats - Summary

The Squat is a cornerstone exercise for any health routine and should be done by individuals at any fitness level. It is a very safe exercise, especially done without weights and can be performed anywhere at anytime by both men and women. Most of the important parts of good technique of squats involve the feet and knees. Once those positions are done correctly, the upper body will usually maintain correct form.. You can read this article the health benefits of squats.

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