Friday, November 07, 2008

4 tips for a better squat by senior trainer Zack Cahill

The squat is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do, when performed correctly. Unfortunately a properly performed squat is a rare sight indeed in most gyms. Here are some of the most common technical flaws and a quick guide on how to fix them.

1- Inadequate depth : To get the most from the squat the thighs should at least reach parallel to the floor, or deeper providing the lower back does not round. Often, people feel as if they will fall backwards if they squat deeply. This can be for a number of reasons but one quick and easy way to help this is to perform a box squat. Simply place a box or bench behind you at the desired height (usually about 14 inches) and sit back onto it keeping the midsection braced. Pause for a moment on the box and then stand up explosively.
Increasing strength in the posterior chain (ie the hamstrings, glutes and lower back) is also helpful in this case. Try performing back extensions or romanian deadlifts to bring this up to par.

2- Knees buckle in or out: Depending on the point when this occurs in the squat movement this can be adhesions in either the adductors (inner thigh) or ITB (outer thigh). Cut out the guess work and perform 5 minutes of foam rolling on both the inner and outer thighs at the start of every workout, concentrating on the most painful sections.

3 - Upper body tips too far forward: This is usually due to tight hip flexors. Aggressively target hip flexor flexibility by stretching them every time you train. Hold the following stretch for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.

4- feet turn out excessively at the bottom of the squat: This is often due to a tight piriformis, a small muscle which rotates the leg outward. perform the following stretch for 15 seconds at the start of every training session.

Don't settle for poor technique! Try these solutions and start squatting for real.

4 Tips to a better squat from Team Aegis on Vimeo.

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