I was at the gym recently and noticed that many of my fellow squatters were in desperate need of a few tips!
Tip 1: No Tucky Bum
This is a common one. Right at the bottom of the squat some people tuck their bottom under creating a flat back. This can create excessive unwanted pressure through the lower back.
To correct it, make sure you are keeping a neutral spine throughout the squat. Practice side on to a mirror if you are unsure on this one. You should see the same spine shape in the lower back throughout the entire squat. Try some self myofascial release (SMR) through your glutes and hamstrings if you are having trouble keeping the correct posture here.
Tip 2: More core
When you are lifting heavy weights, it is best to keep a straight (neutral) back so that the weight is shared equally between all the back segments. If someone has restrictions in their spine sometimes, in order to get their back straight, they will pop their ribs forward creating an excessive curve or arch through the back.
To correct it, keep your core engaged by thinking of your lower rib cage moving backwards slightly. When you are side on to a mirror you should see a slight backwards curve around the rib cage and then a slight forwards curve around the lower back (neutral spine). If you feel this position is uncomfortable it could be a tight back or tight pecs. Try some SMR through both areas to see if it makes a difference.
Tip 3: Align your legs
I am not referring to knees over toes here. A common misconception is that the knees should not go beyond the toes. Unless you have actual knee pathology or pain, it is totally fine for your knees to move forward beyond your toes, in fact if you watch Olympic lifters you will see their knees moving about 5-10cms beyond their toes! What I am referring to is where the ankles roll in and the knees deviate in. Or both!
To correct it, face towards a mirror and do a squat without weight. Identify if you have either of these problems. If so, try tying a band around your knees and as you squat push out into the band until you see them come into alignment between your hips and your feet. Once you have done it correctly with the band a few times try it without and see if you can maintain the corrected alignment. If you are having difficulty, first make sure the band is not too tight or too strong and second you could try some SMR through your hip flexors. If you can do it successfully without the band time after time, you are ready for some weight!
Note: Please note the above tips should not replace professional or medical advice. If you are unsure on changing posture of an exercise and whether it is right for you or not, you should always seek advice from a health professional you trust.
See a Myotherapist today – book online
Get advice on your squat at our upcoming interactive talk – Friday 28th of October 2015. Arrive 7pm for a 7:15pm start. To book fill out our contact form and in comments section type ‘Improve my squat’ and we will send you the full details.