Having a bit of trouble with your squat? Don’t worry, it happens! Below are some common issues that tend to pop up from time to time, and an exercise or two to help combat them.
Squatting Too Deep
Use a bench or box that’s at or just below parallel when you squat. Or, get a resistance band that can stretch across the safety racks so you can squat INTO the band with as little resistance as possible. Your squat won’t suffer and you’ll be able to tell when you hit the band without having to think about it.
The exercise to fix it: Box squat or band-assisted squats
Not Squatting Deep Enough
Same as squatting too deep, use a box or band for some assistance. I would recommend the box because it allows for more depth.
The exercise to fix it: band-assisted squats
Not Staying Tight Throughout the Movement
Often times, we lose tightness throughout the squat movement which can put our backs in danger. You want to stay as tight as possible to make sure that you execute the exercise with ease and safety. Practice breathing into the stomach- not into the chest, or allowing that air to spill out while you perform the movement
The exercise to fix it: Breathing technique will add a lot to your squat. Treat every warm-up set like a working set and practice those proper breathing movements. Hold your breath and keep your belly tight. If you use a belt when you squat, then press against the belt. If you’re not a belt-user, still keep your belly tight throughout the movement.
Folding over can come from a cause of many things so it’s hard for me to say where exactly you start to fold over- only you know that. Whether it’s from weak hips, a lagging core or back, try squatting low bar. This will help to make the movement more natural for you instead.
The exercise to fix it: Low bar squat. Or, keep working on strengthening your core and back. It’s great if your legs can push tons of weight, but you have to be sure that the rest of your body can carry it!
Knees are Over Toes in the Bottom Squat Position
Squatting with knees over toes isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, but you do want to make sure that you’re keeping a majority of the weight in your heels. If you’re guilty of having your heels ride up and your knees pass your toes, then you might want to tweak it a bit.
The exercise to fix it: Squat into a chair. You’ll have support at the bottom of the squat, so you’ll feel comfortable sitting back into it. It will allow you think about where your hips are traveling and constantly making sure that your knees are behind or just above your toes.
For an extra bonus, below are a few common mobility issues and what kinds of exercises to do to fix them!
Foam rolling the back and lats
Quadruped thoracic rotation
Lacrosse ball the chest and shoulder area
Goblet squat hold at the bottom
Kneeling lunge stretch
Stretch your calves!!
Dorsiflex your ankles while lying down.
Take a lacrosse ball or foam roller to your calves. A lot of ankle mobility issues come from tight calves
One of the biggest issues I see in my clients’ squats is butt-wink; that is when the tailbone starts to curl toward the feet at the bottom of the squat. The main cause of this is having tight hamstrings. Stretch those babies and roll them out, too. You will thank yourself later for saving your tailbone from any major injuries.