You Don’t Know Squat…

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perfect-squat-formDid you know that one of the best exercises to transform your lower body is the squat? I hate squats but I need to build lower body strength and add more muscle to my backside. Because of my hatred, I google every now and then hoping that research has come up with some new non-squat way to build a butt. Nope, sigh. Come on modern technology!

That being said, did you know that most of us don’t have proper squat form when we do them? It’s hard to figure out the correct form if you aren’t used to squatting or are trying to learn from pictures or descriptions. Problems range from not going low enough to knees buckling in to back rounding and so on. I’ve been working on improving my form so that when I squat I at least get the most out of doing them. My dream is that doing them perfectly will lead to not needing to do them as much. Fingers crossed. 😉

First let’s talk about proper form…

  • Your weight should be in your heels and not in your toes. Push through your heels during the entire movement.
  • Your chest should be up and your back should not be rounded.
  • Your head will follow your eyes so don’t look at the floor. Look forward or slightly upwards.
  • Contract your abs the entire time to protect your back.
  • When doing the squat, hinge at the hips first and push your butt back like you’re going to sit in a chair. Make sure your knees don’t go beyond your toes.
  • You should squat down until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly lower. If you only squat part way and not to parallel, you won’t get nearly the benefit of the squat that you could.

Phew, that’s a lot to remember when you’re trying to learn and doing it wrong can definitely lead to injury. Practicing the movement with bodyweight will help with muscle memory, and you’ll have an easier time recognizing proper form by feel once you start adding weights. So how do you manage to get the form right without someone there to walk you through it and critique?

Squatting while facing a wall is a great way to teach yourself proper squat form. It forces you into correct alignment or you end up bumping your knees or hitting your head. Learning the wall facing squat also gives you a solid foundation for deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and other lower body exercises!

How to do a wall facing squat…

  1. Face a wall with your toes 3 – 6 inches away from the wall. Your feet should be about hip width apart and toes should be pointed slightly out.
  2. Put your hands on your hips or behind your head.
  3. Bend at the hips and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor without letting your knees or head touch the wall.
  4. Return to standing position, again without touching the wall.

Note: If you are an absolute beginner, try standing about 6 inches from a post. Hold the post at chest height and walk your hands down as you squat.

If you’ve been doing squats wrong, this movement will feel weird and unfamiliar. Interesting, huh? The wall won’t allow your knees, head or chest come too far forward. If you lean too far backwards, you’ll topple over behind you. The wall forces you into proper alignment.

You might fall backwards the first few times you try it. Just make sure to practice on a softer surface like carpet or mats instead of a concrete floor. Use only your bodyweight when first starting out. When you can do 5 perfect squats this way, start practicing without the wall and focus on the same alignment as with the wall. Once you perfect your form with and without the wall, you can try adding some weights. I’d suggest checking in with the wall every now and then just to make sure you’re still holding form.

I’m working hard on practicing this daily so I can get used to the feel. Hopefully there’s a better butt in our near future!

Comments

  1. Great blog. I have never heard of the wall facing squat, so I tried it and it worked for me. It’s a good tool. Squats a great, but some people’s limb lengths make tricks like the wall facing squat difficult. Also, poor ankle (soleus) flexibility could make this hard for some. Keep up the great blogging!
    Mike Caton recently posted..Stretching Exercises: Are They Really Worth It?My Profile

    • Thanks! I found it by accident when I was looking into accidental ways that we cheat on exercise form. It worked for me, but you bring up good points about limb lengths and flexibility. Hopefully making adjustments like standing slightly farther back may help too. Thanks for stopping by!

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