When it comes to working out, squats are one of the most important exercises that you can do. They target multiple major muscle groups, including your quads, glutes, and core, and can help to improve your overall strength and power. However, if they are not performed correctly, squats can also lead to a number of injuries.
To ensure that you are getting the most out of your squat workout and avoiding any potential injuries, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid, which is why we’ve put this expert guide together.
So – here are 4 squat mistakes to avoid, and how you can fix them.
Why are Squat Form Mistakes So Common?
Your squat technique has a direct impact on how effective your workout is, as well as your risk of injury. However, bad form when squatting is extremely common, particularly among beginner and intermediate lifters.
There are a number of reasons why this might be the case. First of all, many people simply don’t know how to perform a squat correctly. This is often because they have never been shown how to do it properly, or because they have picked up bad habits and common mistakes from watching others at the gym.
Another reason that poor squat form is so common is that people often focus too much on lifting heavier weights, without paying enough attention to their technique. This can lead to reduced range of motion and poor mechanics, meaning the exercise is less effective and doesn’t target the intended muscle groups.
Finally, some people might have an underlying physical issue that makes it difficult for them to squat correctly. For example, they might have tight hips or lower back, which could impact hip mobility and cause them to round their back when squatting.
If you think that any of these might apply to you, then it’s important to be aware of the most common squat mistakes so that you can avoid them.
4 Common Squat Mistakes To Avoid & Their Fixes
Mistake 1: Torso Position
The Mistake: Chest is too arched.
When the chest is too arched, it places unnecessary stress on the lower back, which can lead to pain or injuries. This position also means that you cannot brace your torso effectively, due to your abs being stretched. Bracing is important for a strong squat and to be able to use the legs effectively.
How to Fix It: Keep the torso stacked by pulling the ribs down and bracing the abs.
By doing this, you will create a neutral spine position, which will help to protect your lower back. Maintaining a neutral spine during squats is important for preventing injuries. You will also be able to brace effectively, enabling you to squat heavier.
Mistake 2: Head Position
The Mistake: Chin is too high.
When the chin is too high during your squat, it puts unnecessary strain on the spine and can cause discomfort. As with an arched chest, in this position you cannot brace effectively, and therefore will not be able to squat as much weight as you are capable of. This common mistake is often seen in beginners who are still getting used to the movement.
How to Fix It: Tuck the chin and hold your gaze on the floor 2m in front of you.
The best way to fix this is to keep your eyes focused on a point in front of you and tuck your chin slightly. This will help you keep a neutral spine throughout the movement and avoid any strain on the neck. You will be able to brace effectively and use your legs to their full potential.
Mistake 3: Knee Position
The Mistake: Knees are dropping inwards.
When the knees drop inwards, it puts unnecessary stress on the knees and can lead to joint pain or knee injuries. With heavier weights, this can also cause the lifter to lose balance and stability.
How to Fix It: Keep knees in line with feet throughout the movement and push the knees out against an imaginary band.
By doing this, you will ensure that your knees stay healthy and free from injuries as they are supported by the muscles around them. You will be able to squat deeper and train the muscles more effectively.
Mistake 4: Foot Position
The Mistake: Feet rolling inward, heels rising.
When the feet roll inward and the heels rise up, it puts undue stress on the knees and can cause injuries over time. When squatting, your feet rolling inward can also create a false sense of depth, which can lead to missed lifts.
How to Fix It: Balance the weight on the whole foot, drive through the heel, big toe and little toe.
By doing this, you will be able to keep your feet from rolling inward and your heels from rising. This will also help you maintain balance throughout the squat and avoid injuries.
How To Avoid the Most Common Squat Mistakes
Work with an Experienced Trainer
If you are new to squatting, or if you have been struggling with your technique, then one of the best things that you can do is to work with an experienced trainer. They will be able to show you the correct way to perform the exercise and can give you feedback on your form so that you can improve it.
By working with a trainer, you can also make sure that you are using the right weight for your level. This is important because if you are using too much weight, then this can make it more difficult to control the movement and maintain good technique.
Find a Gym With a Great Squat Rack
If you want to squat with heavy weights, then it’s important that you find a gym that has a great squat rack. This will ensure that you have the proper equipment and safety measures in place so that you can squat with confidence.
At Strength Ambassadors in London, we have a state-of-the-art squat rack that is perfect for all levels of lifters. Our expert gym trainers can also help you with your technique so that you can avoid any mistakes and get the most out of your workout.
Do Some Mobility Exercises
If you find that your range of motion is limited when squatting, then it’s a good idea to do some mobility exercises before your workout. This will help to improve your flexibility and can make it easier for you to squat in good form.
You can avoid tight hips with mobility exercises like hip flexor and glute stretches, and improve lower back mobility with effective warm-up stretches.
Focus on Form
As mentioned above, the squat movement is often executed with incorrect form, which can lead to injuries. To avoid this, it’s important that you focus on your form and technique, rather than on lifting heavy weights.
Start by using a lighter weight so that you can get the movement pattern correct, and only increase the weight when you are confident that you are squatting with good form.
If you want to improve your squat form, then there are a number of great resources that you can use, such as YouTube videos.
There are plenty of instructional videos out there that can show you how to perform the exercise correctly, and there are also videos of people performing the exercise with good form so that you can see what it should look like.
So, if you are struggling with your squat form, then be sure to check out some of these videos so that you can learn how to do it correctly.
Get To Know Your Squat Variations
There are many different squat variations, including the Bulgarian split squat, the goblet squat, the front squat and the back squat.
Each of these variations can help to improve your technique, and they also offer different benefits. For example, the Bulgarian split squat is a great squat variation for developing single-leg strength, while goblet squats are a good option for beginners as it is less challenging than the traditional back squat. You can also vary your workout between dumbbell squats and barbell squats for a change in pace and intensity.
As you become more experienced, you can experiment with different variations to find the ones that work best for you.
Squat Mistakes FAQs
What is bad squat form?
Bad squat form is when you squat with incorrect technique, which can lead to injuries. There are a number of things that you can do to improve your squat form, including working with a trainer, focusing on your technique, utilising YouTube videos and getting to know your squat variations.
What is a good morning squat?
The “good morning” squat is a name for squats that are led with the hips by performing a hip hinging movement and resemble the good morning exercise. Though this type of squat can be useful in some training dynamics, if not performed correctly, it can place unnecessary stress on the lower back and even cause injury.
How do I protect my lower back when squatting?
The lumbar spine (lower back) is a very sensitive area of the body and can be easily injured if not properly supported during squats. There are a few things that you can do to protect your lower back when squatting, including:
- Bracing your core muscles
- Taking a deep breath into the belly to fill the torso with air and help stabilise the spine
- Keeping your lower back in its neutral curvature
- Using a weightlifting belt to support your lower back
You should also protect yourself from a knee injury by ensuring your knee stays in line with your feet throughout the movement.
How do I know if I’m doing squats wrong?
If you feel uneven when you squat, have unengaged core muscles or leg muscles or feel pain in your lower back, then you are likely doing the exercise wrong. Improper squatting form can cause a number of injuries, so it’s important to focus on your technique and ensure that you are squatting with good form and in a good squat pattern.
Looking For an Expert Lifting Coach & Gym in London?
Whether you’re a beginner who is just starting out, or a more experienced lifter looking to take your training to the next level, we can support you. Our team of expert coaches can help you to improve your squat technique and achieve your strength training goals. Contact us today to find out more about our services.