Squatting is one of the most essential aspects of any training program. It is a simple, yet highly effective and functional exercise.
"There is simply no other exercise, and certainly no machine, that produces the level of central nervous system activity, improved balance and coordination, skeletal loading and bone density enhancement, muscular stimulation and growth, connective tissue stress and strength, psychological demand and toughness, and overall systemic conditioning than the correctly performed full squat."
- Mark Rippetoe, coach at Wichita Falls Weightlifting and author of "Starting Strength"
Below is a video highlighting the key aspects of the squat.
Requirements for the squat: At the bottom of each rep, the hips must be at a lower point than the top of the knee; this will be below 90 degrees. This is the safest and most effective way to squat, despite the popular misconception that going below 90 degrees is dangerous. In fact, the opposite holds true. Squatting lower than 90 degrees is both functional and safe. At the top of the squat, hips and knees must be fully extended.
Here are a few tips to perfect your squat:
- Start with you feet shoulder width apart
- Keep your head in a neutral position looking straight ahead
- Pull your hips back and down, as if you were about to sit in a low chair
- Keep your weight on your heels
- Keep your lower back tight to maintain your lumbar curve
- Keep your chest up and shoulders back
- Push your knees out so they track directly over your feet
- Your hips should drop below the top of your knees at the bottom
- Drive up off your heels
- Rise to full extension
- A mature squat will have a nearly vertical torso throughout the entire movement
- Every bit of musculature is involved in the squat!