You can easily get a gym-toned body using the proper squat form. But, you ought to follow the proper way to do squats. There is no debate about the effectiveness of this exercise, but doing it wrong makes it ineffective and even cause exercise-induced trauma. We talked with some of the fitness experts and brought down the list of things you are probably doing wrong.
Going shallow – not a proper proper squat form
The thighs should go parallel to the floor. This position will work all your muscles in the area and allow maximum fat burning. Most people just squat shallow, especially when they start to feel their muscles burn. The sense of burning does not usually indicate that you are burning fat. The proper way to do squats is to keep a count and increase it slowly, every week. It is best to start with a smaller number and increase slowly and steadily.
Watch knee to know the proper squat form
When you squat, watch your knee in the mirror. Is it going too far, way beyond where the toes end? It is not going to affect the efficiency of the exercise. However, the strain of such a position can damage your joints, in the long run. The best solution to have a proper way to do squats is a wall. Stand against a wall and make sure that your toes are touching the wall. Now, squat, and you will feel the right posture. If you are in a gym, you can always use the full-size mirror in front of you. You can also try having a resistance band to avoid inward rolling of your knees.
Proper squat form is not to lean
Are you leaning forward when you are squatting? Our body tends to do so to have a little comfort, but it can cause exercise-induced trauma. When you bend your back, you are putting heavy pressure on your spine and neck. The best solution is to puff your chest and keep your shoulders straight. Squats are good for your posture if you do it in the right position.
Heel rule for the proper squat form
What do you do with your heel when you squat? Are you lifting it when you lower your body down? There are different types of squats, and in every method, you should focus your weight on the heel. This method will help you avoid pressure on knees and joints. If you try to lift your heels, you will get exhausted well before you reach your maximum effort.
Stop gazing –experts’ rule for a proper way to do squats
Say, you spend 20 minutes for squatting. What are you doing with your eyes? Most probably, people would look around, watch other people, or even look at their toes. Squats are good for your body if you maintain the right posture. If you look around turning your neck while squatting, you are inserting extra pressure on your spine, and you would lose the right posture for the exercise. It can lead to injury. For a good position, watch your reflection in the mirror, or just straight ahead.
Ignoring abs – a rookie mistake
There are different types of squats for focusing on different body areas. Experts call for a combination method, where you can build up your core strength while squatting. Tighten the stomach muscles when you squat and release when you lift. It will help you while you add more weight to your exercise and also, these combination squats are good for abs.
Stagnating with air squats
The different types of squats include using various equipment while squatting. Once you are comfortable with the weightless squat or air squat, try with a small dumbbell in each hand. As you increase the intensity of the squats, more muscle gets worked out, and if you do not push yourself to the next level, the gym-toned body will be a dream.
Sticking to the same squat routine
There are dozens of different types of squats, and they target different body areas. What will happen if you stick to just a couple of squat variants alone? You will soon reach the plateau. Plateau is the situation where your goal gets stagnated even when you exercise effectively. The solution is to have at least 12 different squat variants to target different muscle areas.
Hip and shoulder balance
Most people would use their hips to lift their body from the squatting position. In such cases, the hips would move up faster than the shoulders. This style could cause lumbar spine pain. Thus, when you go up, raise your shoulder and spine together.
Smith Machine is a definite no-no
Smith Machine might look like a good way to increase the intensity of your squats. In reality, it will restrict you to a single plane and cause unnatural movements. Moreover, since the machine stabilizes the weight, you are not getting the full benefits of the exercise. According to a study, free-weight squatting allows 43% increase in muscular activation than using a Smith Machine for squatting.
Warm up – is it a waste of time?
Most people try some air squats before moving on to weighted squats. They believe the air squats would act as a warmup. Some just jump for a couple of times, move their elbows around and start with their exercises. If you start squatting before warming up your joints, the chances of experiencing exercise-induced trauma are higher.
Experts recommend RAMP technique. ‘R’ stands for raising body temperature. ‘A’ stands for activating muscles. ‘M’ stands for mobilizing joints and ‘P’ is for potentiating. Potentiating is performing 10% intensity of your regular exercise for a short period. This technique includes treadmill running, stretching exercises, and some lapse of running, if possible.
Partial squat – partial workout
When you do a partial squat, you might burn a small amount of energy. However, you will experience injuries. If your bottom is not parallel to the ground, you are doing a partial squat. Do not have a posterior tilt while squatting. It will cause damage to your spine.
Injury induced by exercise is painful, and it might take months to recover. In some cases, it might damage your posture. Thus, do not squat just for the sake of it. Learn for the experts. There are numerous blogs and videos where you can learn the proper way to do squats. If not, you can hire a trainer and learn it professionally. Either way, it is essential to start slow, go steady, and always challenge yourself. After all, having a toned body is not an impossible task. If you put your mind and body to it, it is just within your reach.