If I could go back in time and give my 15 year old self some sage advice, it would be:
1) Get a proper haircut
2) Stop masturbating into a sock
3) Buy shares in Apple
4) Start Squatting NOW
Like most of us, my adolescent years in the gym were exclusively spent curling, bench pressing, and pouting in the mirror.
Ultimately, if I couldn’t see the muscle in my bedroom mirror while flexing, it didn’t exist.
Heck, the only person that squatted in my old gym was a fat, furry Lithuanian gentleman who would scream and curse his way through each monstrous rep.
At the time, I reasonably assumed he had:
a) murdered someone,
b) committed a sex crime, or
c) both (maybe even at the same time).
Like a hippo marking his territory with urine, the squat rack was his domain, and besides, I didn’t want to get involved with this dirty, sweaty exercise.
Working out legs was a waste of time, I thought…
What a fool I was!
The Key To A Structurally Sound Physique
Truth is, if you want to build a physique that is muscular and well proportioned, in addition to being super strong, squatting is a must.
Like the mighty deadlift, squatting is a BEAST of a compound, mass building exercise.
It mercilessly works your quads, hamstrings, glutes and core while additionally attacking other stabilising muscles as well.
The problem is squatting is a tough exercise to master and too few people are squatting right – if at all!
So here are five tips which you can implement immediately to improve your form and technique and get that KILLER squat:
1) Arch your Lower Back
Maintaining an arched lower back is essential to good form.
Most injuries from squatting occur from an unnatural ‘rounding’ of the back during the concentric upward phase of the lift.
This puts a huge strain on the lumbar region and NOT the legs. Not good guys.
Top tip: Plump your chest out while squatting to achieve a natural arch.
2) Head Position
Your head should be looking forward – slightly above parallel.
Do not crane your neck upwards or look down at the floor, as this will make your squatting movement unstable and place severe stress on your neck.
Top tip: Pick a spot on the wall just above eye level and concentrate on it during the set.
3) Push from the heels
Over the years, I’ve seen countless people squatting from the front of their feet.
Drive from the heels, goddammit!
This provides a solid, stable platform for your body which allows you to FULLY engage your leg muscles.
Top tip: Perform a set of squats without the bar to perfect the technique of pushing from your heels.
4) Knees Out
While squatting it is essential to keep your knees pointing slightly outwards.
To achieve this, ensure that your feet are pointing outwards (about 20 degrees).
In addition to aligning your body in a more natural stance to perform the movement, this positioning will also help you generate more power in the lift.
Top tip: Develop strength in your thigh abductor muscles to prevent your knees collapsing while squatting.
This last tip can be applied to all weight training exercises you perform.
Too few people warm up and stretch properly before chucking weight around the gym.
In addition to minimising risk of injury, enhanced flexibility – especially in your quads, ankles and hips – will help you craft a super fluid squat with an improved range of motion.
Top tip: During your warm-up for leg day, hold a deep squat as a stretch for two minutes. This well help your muscles and ligaments to loosen up nicely.
So, there we have it guys. You can now go out into the world as fully fledged squatters!
When employing these 5 killer tips, make sure that your from is perfect for every set and every rep you perform from now on.
Remember: perfect practice makes perfect.
Embrace the iron and good luck guys.
If you have any further thoughts or questions, or want to let me know how you get on with these tips, hit me up in the comments section below.
I look forward to hearing from you!
About the author
Henry is an ex-national swimmer and marathon runner with a passion for the iron. When not squatting or power eating you can find him blogging over at GymTalk.
Google Plus Author Profile: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+HenryCroft/