Squat workout is one of the top bodyweight exercises. Squat workout builds many muscles and develops stronger lower-body, including legs, hips, knees, and glutes that are important for any sport. It helps burn a lot of calories and pack on more lean muscle mass.
Though the humble squat appears a simple exercise to understand, but actually I have seen that the most people perform it incorrectly, and so can get injured easily.
8 Most Common Squat Mistakes & How To Correct Them Using Proper Squat Technique (Tips & Video)
Here are the top 8 most common squat mistakes that people usually commit, how they might impact body, & what should you do to correct them (Tips & Video).
Note: Watch VIDEO at the end of this article to learn: “How To Correct Squat Mistakes”.
Rounding Your Lower Back
This is one of the most common squat mistakes that the beginners make as they find difficulty in keeping their backs from rounding when they squat, and unfortunately, it can easily cause back injury and hurt spine. When we round our back, we increase the load on our spine by 5 to ten times than the load of a properly performed squat.
This issue isn’t so common with a bodyweight squat; but is more likely to happen as you begin adding weight to your squat exercise.
Proper Technique: It’s critical to maintain a flat, neutral lower back (spine) while squatting. Don’t confuse this with an upright torso.
How To Correct:
(i) You can fix this error by improving flexibility of your glutes and hamstrings and make sure to stretch them properly prior to squatting.
(ii) At lease twice in a day stretch your hip flexors. Stand & hold one knee into your chest for one minute, & then the other.
(iii) One simple way is to fix this is by doing a squat variation that requires your torso to be in more upright position and activates your abs. You can try goblet-squat & train your body to use the proper technique.
Arching Your Lower Back
Other end of the extreme is to arch your lower back too much. It might appear safer, but actually it puts a lot of pressure on your joints and focus on the wrong muscles.
Proper Technique: Maintain your lower back neutral & ensure this position all through the squat movements.
How To Correct:
(i) Keep your neck neutral & focus your eyes on something a few feet in front of you on the ground.
(ii) Strengthen your core with planks at least twice in a week.
Not Going Low Enough
A shallow squat does not provide you optimum results that you want in terms of your lower body strength, so we count it among our other common squat mistakes. Deep squats won’t hurt, but the bad form squats can.
(i) A number of studies have shown that ass-to-grass squats involve higher muscle activation & provide greater benefits in terms of strength gain & muscle growth as compared to partial squats. Shallow squats lower the potential gains and your efforts actually are a waste of time.
(ii) However, there are some people who simply are unable to squat below parallel because of their body specific biomechanics. Such people can squat to the lowest possible point and over a period of time aim for squatting low enough – so that at the bottom, the thighs are parallel to the ground.
How To Correct: If you can’t go low enough, you can work on improving your mobility by starting with an easier squat variation such as the Goblet squat that lets you squat lower while maintaining your torso upright.
Allowing Your Knees Drift Inward
This is another common squatting mistake that the beginners & even advanced lifters commit. This puts a lot of undue pressure on your knees that can, over time, damage the ligaments.
Proper Technique: You have to make sure that your knees always point and go in the same direction as your toes.
How To Correct: Normally this problem can be fixed by trying to drive the knees out. If your knees still cave inward no matter how hard you try, place a mini-band around your thighs or knees then force your legs to fight against the resistance and train your muscles to maintain your knees in correct alignment.
Allowing Your Knees Move Beyond Your Toes
Your knees go past your toes at bottom of the squats. This puts undue stress on your knees and joints and you will experience knee pain or injury over time.
Proper Technique: Don’t let your knees pass beyond your toes.
How To Correct: Make sure that you always begin squat movements by pushing your butt backwards instead of starting by bending your knees first. Keep your heels on the ground and resist from shifting your center of gravity forward.
Allowing Your Heels To Go Up
Lifting your heels while squatting unnecessarily shifts all the weight to your knees and quads. This means your knees are subject to more beating than they should and thus your knee joints wear out faster.
Proper Technique: Keep Your Heels Down and make sure your weight is distributed evenly onto the whole foot.
How To Correct: Avoid leaning forward or going forward toward the toes when squatting. This you can do by pressing through your heels.
Allowing Your Chest To Drop
A poor posture can cause injuries to your disc.
Proper Technique: Maintain a good posture with your head positioned straight & chest lifted.
How To Correct: Use a mirror to ensure good posture, which means you neither lean forward nor look upward.
Squatting Too Fast
Rapidly done squats increase the probability of getting injuries because of carelessness.
Proper Technique: Do squats in slow and controlled movements.
How To Correct: Don’t do squats in hurry! Make sure to rest in between squat sets to allow for adequate recovery. By resting, you can maximize the benefits out of every squat.
Follow the above tricks and rules to do squat exercise correctly.
Watch this video to learn what mistakes you should avoid while doing Squats: