By:Tyler Martin – ModernAthleticHealth
Things you will learn in this article:
Starting the squat and finding deficiencies
Breaking down the squat
Stretches to help you squat better
If you work out, you probably squat. And if you don’t, you probably should be squatting. So if we should squat, because it is one of the most beneficial exercises known to man, you should learn how to do it with absolute precision and perfection.
Perfecting the squat will benefit you in countless ways. It will help prevent injury. It will allow you to move more weight and essentially do more work. It will help transfer to other exercises making you a machine. The pictures that you will see in this article are done in jeans, in my house showing that you can work on this movement anywhere!
Let’s define the perfect squat and then work on achieving it.
Start with your feet about shoulder width apart
Look straight ahead or slightly up. (Your torso will follow your eyes)
Maintain the natural curve in your back
Strive to squat until your hip is below your kneecap, or until you reach full end range motion.
Weight always stays on your heels.
When standing up, your butt and your shoulders should raise at the same time. Think “Chest Up”
Stand until your knees and hips reach full extension.
This is the “perfect squat” but let’s find out how to achieve it. I have spent years working on my squat and I’m still trying to make it better.
So where do you start?
Let’s start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, facing a wall. Stand about 6 inches away from the wall. With your hands on the wall start squatting down until your face hits the wall. At this point you are seeing a deficiency if you have to stop before your hip crease is below the kneecap. This is ok. It is solely a mobility issue that we can easily address. If you are stopping early and your face is hitting the wall, you are leaning too far forward. This is probably due to a couple of issues. One is hip mobility and two is ankle mobility. We will learn stretches for those in a minute. Next, focus on where your knees are in the squat. Are they over your toes or are they collapsing inward? If they are collapsing inward we will learn a couple stretches to help out.
Now that we have broken the squat down and found out how to find your own deficiencies let’s learn some stretches to help you out.
If your head is hitting the wall on the way down like this….
…Consider doing these stretches a few times a week for 5 to 10 min each…
This is a lunge. It will help your hips to open up and help you maintain that lumbar curve in your back.
Also do this…
Set a barbell on your knees at the bottom of a squat. Talk about great ankle stretch!
If your knees are coming in like this….
…Consider doing this stretch to help your external hip rotation…
These are just a few main stretches to help you with your squat. I do these every day. Building the perfect squat takes time and effort. Stretch, practice, stretch some more, and over time you will find that you are building the perfect squat.