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Any good ways to make sure that squats are performed correctly?

M

Mei Lin

New Member
Sep 25, 2023
7
6
Hey everyone, I am a new member here.
I started trying some strength training a few month ago, and one exercise that I have always found really difficult is squats, and I was wondering if there are any smart ways to keep my form as correct as possible.
I remember reading something about doing most of the push with the heels, and I am not sure if this is correct or not, but I was thinking of those kinds of "fundamentals", where you focus on doing various small things that sort of force you into a correct form.
I am an 18-year-old girl, if that matters.
 
genetic freak

genetic freak

VIP Member
Dec 28, 2015
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There are a lot of things that come into play with the squat. It is one of the most complex movements we perform week in and week out. It doesn't matter if you just started or have been training for 20+ years, a lot of people incorrectly perform squats or have good form, but do not engage the target muscle as well as they could.

I would guess being young and female your mobility is not an issue unless you have had hip, knee or ankle injuries. You have to ask yourself, what are my goals with the squat? Am I a powerlifter? Am I primarily focused on strength? Am I a bodybuilder and more focused on quad development? This will determine your foot and bar placement. Wider stance with lower bar places more emphasis on the hips/glutes. Closer stance with a high bar places the emphasis on the quads.

For most people, using the hips/glutes as the prime movers is natural and they have to focus a lot in order to ensure quads are the prime mover (if training to develop the quads). The key is the eccentric movement. If you do not feel your quads during the eccentric movement then the quads will not be doing the work in the concentric movement, your hips and glutes will.

If you have a hard time engaging the quads then do some isolation movements for the hamstrings and glutes before squats. Training your overactive muscles first should help.
 
M

Mei Lin

New Member
Sep 25, 2023
7
6
There are a lot of things that come into play with the squat. It is one of the most complex movements we perform week in and week out. It doesn't matter if you just started or have been training for 20+ years, a lot of people incorrectly perform squats or have good form, but do not engage the target muscle as well as they could.

I would guess being young and female your mobility is not an issue unless you have had hip, knee or ankle injuries. You have to ask yourself, what are my goals with the squat? Am I a powerlifter? Am I primarily focused on strength? Am I a bodybuilder and more focused on quad development? This will determine your foot and bar placement. Wider stance with lower bar places more emphasis on the hips/glutes. Closer stance with a high bar places the emphasis on the quads.

For most people, using the hips/glutes as the prime movers is natural and they have to focus a lot in order to ensure quads are the prime mover (if training to develop the quads). The key is the eccentric movement. If you do not feel your quads during the eccentric movement then the quads will not be doing the work in the concentric movement, your hips and glutes will.

If you have a hard time engaging the quads then do some isolation movements for the hamstrings and glutes before squats. Training your overactive muscles first should help.
Thanks for your tips. ^-^

I can overlook warm-ups quite often, however I am generally very nimble and never really feel stiff anywhere, so I guess I have got away with it for now;
So my problem isn't really that I get any painful feelings or anything like that, it is more that I often feel awkward at various points during the movement.
I think the most unpleasant situation is when I feel like my knees and feet start to move inward and end up in an uncomfortable position, where I sort of stand on the inner part of my feet a little bit;
I can feel quite intuitively that this is an incorrect position, since it feels very unnatural.

I am 4'11 and weigh around 100 lbs or something close to that, so I have stuck mostly to the empty bar for the moment.
I think I will stay with that, until I feel 100% comfortable. xP
 
genetic freak

genetic freak

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Dec 28, 2015
2,700
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Thanks for your tips. ^-^

I can overlook warm-ups quite often, however I am generally very nimble and never really feel stiff anywhere, so I guess I have got away with it for now;
So my problem isn't really that I get any painful feelings or anything like that, it is more that I often feel awkward at various points during the movement.
I think the most unpleasant situation is when I feel like my knees and feet start to move inward and end up in an uncomfortable position, where I sort of stand on the inner part of my feet a little bit;
I can feel quite intuitively that this is an incorrect position, since it feels very unnatural.

I am 4'11 and weigh around 100 lbs or something close to that, so I have stuck mostly to the empty bar for the moment.
I think I will stay with that, until I feel 100% comfortable. xP
Sounds like you may have some knee valgus collapse (inward movement of the knee when squatting). Film yourself from the front to confirm. If you do confirm it, there are many videos on YouTube with exercises that will strengthen your abductors, gluteus minimus and medius.
 
Thrawn

Thrawn

MuscleHead
Jun 12, 2023
916
481
@genetic freak nailed it. I can't add anything with out it sounding exactly like GF. If you have a hard time engaging the quads then do some isolation movements for the hamstrings and glutes before squats. Training your overactive muscles first should help.
See sounds just like him. Lol
 
M

Mei Lin

New Member
Sep 25, 2023
7
6
@genetic freak nailed it. I can't add anything with out it sounding exactly like GF. If you have a hard time engaging the quads then do some isolation movements for the hamstrings and glutes before squats. Training your overactive muscles first should help.
See sounds just like him. Lol
Haha, it is great advice. ^-^
I will keep your things in mind next time I try this exercise.
 
BovaJP

BovaJP

Senior Moderators
Staff Member
Feb 15, 2013
1,267
1,349
Ankle mobility is helpful as well, but you being young may not have this issue. Be sure to warm up before squatting. Like GF said, warm up with some hamstring curls, and some adductor movements.
Not sure you are there yet and no bearing on the inward of your feet, but sometimes newbies start out by squatting and putting butt on bench or a box or something. To touchdown and then up. That sometimes helps with getting the right depth. But again, no bearing on your feet going inward LOL.

By the way, you say no weight on the bar, what about a lighter weight bar, does this happen then?

Good luck and i'm sure it will all work out!
 
DungeonDweller

DungeonDweller

VIP Member
Mar 21, 2017
1,536
1,338
If you're just starting out getting a coaching session or a few might be valuable.
 
Bobby Cole

Bobby Cole

Member
Jul 31, 2023
90
109
One suggestion I have is possibly an ego buster but it isn’t a bad idea to stop a trainer or someone who is known for their good form to watch you perform an exercise.

No matter how well seasoned someone is, we can all start to make small mistakes and not realize it until we either get injured or do not see any progress….or both.
Personally, I’m not above asking a well versed friend (if s/he’s not busy) to critique for a moment or even hiring a trainer for an hour every so often (maybe once a month or couple of months) just to get some insight or maybe even some motivation when I need it.

Having made a few too many T-10 parachute jumps when I was younger coupled with starting the muscle journey very late in life, my knees aren’t in the best of shape as it is so every little bit of help and suggestion I can get whilst in the gym and doing something even minutely wrong is invaluable.
 
Bigtex

Bigtex

VIP Member
Aug 14, 2012
1,151
1,713
Ankle mobility is helpful as well, but you being young may not have this issue. Be sure to warm up before squatting. Like GF said, warm up with some hamstring curls, and some adductor movements.
Not sure you are there yet and no bearing on the inward of your feet, but sometimes newbies start out by squatting and putting butt on bench or a box or something. To touchdown and then up. That sometimes helps with getting the right depth. But again, no bearing on your feet going inward LOL.

By the way, you say no weight on the bar, what about a lighter weight bar, does this happen then?

Good luck and i'm sure it will all work out!
This is about the best advice you can get.

As BovaJP said, get in squat position in front of a chair or bench. Your feet should be about shoulder width. tak3e a deep breath and squat BACK onto the chair or bench and then back up. Make sure you knees push outward and NOT inward. The weight should be on the outer 1/3 of your foot (heal to outside 1/3 of foot). Always keep your eyes straight ahead. Don't look down as it forces you to shift the weight to you toes and you will lose form. Practive this with no weight and gradually progress to adding the bar and weight.
 
M

Mei Lin

New Member
Sep 25, 2023
7
6
Thanks, everyone.
I will keep your tips in mind when I go there again tomorrow. ^-^
 
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