Do you know how to squat?
Because if you want to build muscle then you certainly should. A lot of people say that without squatting, you can’t possibly grow to your maximum. This is one of the most hypertrophy-building exercises, it’s the perfect way to build your legs and it floods your body with anabolic hormones.
Do you need isolation exercises to encourage microtears and muscle growth? Certainly. But adding squats on top of that is like adding rocket fuel to really enhance this action and ensure that you build muscle as rapidly as possible following this process.
Oh and of course squatting builds massive legs.
The problem is, a lot of people just don’t know how to squat. As such, they end up injuring themselves or just completely avoiding the squat altogether.
A shoe with a cushioned sole will reduce the amount of impact and pressure on your feet and your joints as you move deep into the movement. The best shoes? Olympic squat shoes which are designed specifically for this purpose.
A weight belt meanwhile can protect your lower back and also keep you more upright. And according to research, weight belts actually increase core activation.
Knee sleeves or wraps are also great for supporting the knees and preventing injury.
Calk for the shoulders meanwhile can help you to keep your bar in the right spot on your back, while wrist wraps can keep your wrists straight.
You don’t need any equipment but choosing the right equipment will nevertheless make sure you can squat higher weights with lower chance of injury.
A high bar squat is more comfortable but a low bar position allows you to keep a straighter back.
Shorter legs and longer torsos are better using high bar squat positions, but those with longer bodies and shorter legs are better with a lower bar position. How do you know which is best for you? Try both!
Once you’ve lifted the weight off the rack, take three small steps backwards and adjust your stance with your feet around shoulder width apart. Your toes should be facing mostly forward with a very slight outward angle.
When squatting it should be your hamstrings and quads that you are pushing through the ground with.
Drive your hip and buttocks backwards without bending your back. Brace your abs and particularly the transverse abdominis. This should push against the weight belt (if you’re wearing one) and help you to keep your body completely straight to protect your back. Bringing your hips forward meanwhile will automatically push your upper body upwards.
Maintain spine neutrality at all times. This means you should keep your back straight – even if it is leaning forward. If you’re losing neutrality when you get too low – don’t go so low. As long as your back is straight, you’re at no risk of injury. Imagine a meter ruler is down your shirt along your back: your objective is to make sure that imaginary ruler neither bends nor snaps.
Start with a light weight and improve your technique as you go.
Treat light weight like it’s heavy and one day you’ll be able to treat heavy weight like it’s light!