“I don’t Squat, it’s bad for my knees”.
Do you suffer from knee, hip or back pain when Squatting?
At Physique Performance Specialists we believe that, nothing builds an impressive set of ‘tree trunk’ like quadriceps or a ‘walnut crushing’ pair of glutes than Barbell Back Squats.
But to achieve the above, your Squats have to be heavy and they have to be low.
Unfortunately most people do struggle to; reach effective depth when squatting or lift heavy without compromising form and causing pain.
So today we are going give you 3 simple hacks to help ‘Supersize Your Squat, leaving you with no excuse to continue to avoid this vital exercise...
Squat Hack #1:
“Sit back, not down”.
When Squatting, most people seem to want to ‘dive bomb’ directly down to the floor.You need superior ankle mobility to be able to Squat like this and for 99% of the general population, that’s just not you.
We teach our clients to focus more on ‘breaking at the hips’ to initiate the movement and therefore focus more on sitting back, not down.
Think about it this way…
You don't hover over the top of the toilet and sit down on it right?
You typically stand in front of it and sit back, before taking care of business.
By ‘breaking at the hips’ and sitting back to initiate the movement; you can engage your posterior chain, keep a straighter bar path and typically achieve greater depth without stressing out your lower-back.
Squat Hack #2
“Spread the floor”.
Have you ever noticed that your knees cave in when you Squat?
This can not only cause severe knee pain, but also disengages the glutes and engages the lower-back.
A lot of coaches chant ‘knees out’ at their clients, which we feel is a very ineffective cue.
Simply pushing your knees out isn’t going to help, as you need to have engaged your glutes (external rotators) and vastus lateralis (outer quad) for your knees to stay out. So for added stability when trying to get our clients to force their knees out; we teach them to drive their feet into the floor and focus on ‘spreading the floor’ a part.
Try this next time you find your knees caving in, as it is crucial for your knees to track inline with your feet when squatting.
Squat Hack #3
“Break the bar over your back”.
It’s typically underestimated how important upper-back stability is,when performing an effective Barbell Squat.
The bar when placed on your back; should travel up and down,directly over the middle of your foot. This allows the weight to stay centered and keeps the stress off the lower-back or knees.
So think about it this way, if the bar is flopping around on your back…
The bar path is changing and because of that, the muscles you are using to Squat with are changing.
Especially as your lumbar spine works hard to try and centre the weight.
So I want you to focus on engaging your upper-back and lat’s to help control the bar. Get the bar as tight as possible on your back, squeeze your pinkies and pull your elbows down to the floor. This will feel like you are trying to ‘break the bar’ over your back.
We could write for days about how to perform the perfect Squat. However, these 3 issues are some of the most common we see.
To Squat heavy, deep and pain-free try to:
Focus on sitting back as hard as possible,
Spread the floor a part with your feet,
Break the bar over your back to stay tight.
If you are still struggling with your Squat, click the TAKE ACTION button below to get in touch.
We can assess your movement in our free initial consult.