Master the Squat and Reap the Benefits
It is often called the king of all exercises due to the numerous health benefits and producing the highest strength gains for any exercise. There are many variations of the squat that you can do but the standard version is the one with the bar-bell on your upper back. Without doubt, it is the best exercise for training the leg muscles and also activating the core. Make no mistake: If done correctly, the squat is probably one of the most demanding exercises you will ever do!
But, it also has a reputation of causing lower back and knee injuries in the novice. This article will show you how to safely prepare you for the squat exercise so that you can achieve the benefit of greater knee and spine stability. The best exercises to improve your squatting technique are the gym-ball wall squat and the goblet squat.
Gym- ball Wall Squat
Place the gym-ball between your lower back and the wall. Lean against the gym ball with your feet firmly planted about a feet in front of you.
Slowly lower your body, bending at the hip and knees. Don’t exceed 90 degrees at the knee. Straighten legs and return back to the starting position to complete one rep.
Keep the entire weight on your heels and keep the chest up during the movement. Don’t let your knees extend over your toes. If done correctly, you should not feel any strain in your lower back or knees.
Stand with both feet hip width apart and holding a dumbbell or kettle-bell with both hands. Look at a spot on the ground approximately two metres in front of you.
Lower the body down until your elbows graze inner thighs. Feel your weight go back to your heels. At the bottom of the squat you should feel that you can wiggle your toes and your entire body weight in on your heels.
Maintain the natural arch of the lower back during the movement.
Once you are able to complete around 25 to 30 reps of the wall squat or goblet squat without any pain or discomfort, you should be ready to trial the squats with dumbbells or barbells.
Remember, you can’t hide your lack of flexibility in a squat. If you still experience pain or discomfort with the squat, you could be having tightness of your calf muscles or stiffness in your upper back – the top two reasons for improper technique. Fix them with mobility exercises or specific exercises given by your health professional and your technique should improve.
Perform at Your Best,
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