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How To Squat With Perfect Form

#1 Guest_News_Flash_*

  • Group: Guests

Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:23 AM

Author: Mark Petersen

The squat is potentially the most beneficial exercise you can
perform for your overall muscle development. Every time you do
a workout your body responds by making more testosterone to
help you build more muscle. The amount of testosterone produced
is dependent on the intensity of the exercises you performed
during that workout. The squat is probably the most intense
exercise you can perform and thus will potentially produce the
greatest increase in testosterone. This increased testosterone
production will not only help you build bigger and stronger
legs, but will also help your muscular development throughout
your body.

You may be asking yourself, “so why isn’t everyone performing
squats?” The simple fact is the squat is a difficult exercise
to master, and can be intimidating especially for beginning
weight lifters or bodybuilders. The squat has also gotten a bad
rap, as being bad for your back or knees. The reason for this
bad reputation is because many people just don’t learn to
perform the squat correctly, and ultimately they get injured as
a result. My sole purpose here is to teach you how to perform
the squat correctly with perfect form so you can avoid injury
and explode your muscle growth.

The first thing you must do before performing a single
repetition is to ensure the squat rack is set up to properly
fit you. Adjust the squat rack so the bar is at approximately
chest height. This will allow you to unrack the weight without
having to come up on your tip toes or waste energy by
performing too much of a squatting movement. Also, adjust the
cross bars, so they are about an inch below the level of the
bar at the bottom of your squatting position. This will allow
you to bale out at the bottom of your squat if you need to.

Alright, now that we got the squat rack set up it’s time to get
down to business. Approach the bar and center yourself
underneath it. The bar should rest across your upper trapezius
muscle below the level of your seventh cervical vertebrae. Your
seventh cervical vertebra is the big bump you feel at the base
of your cervical spine when you bend your neck forward. The bar
should NEVER rest on your cervical spine. Position your hands on
the bar at a comfortable position.

Now, extend your knees and unrack the bar. Before descending,
lock in your low back and pull your shoulder blades back. Your
low back should have a slight inward curve (lumbar lordosis).
This posture should be maintained throughout the squatting
movement. When visualizing this position think of a military
man or women coming to attention. This is the position you want
to be in before starting the squat. Your feet should also be
turned slightly outward.

You’re now ready to begin. When you descend think about sitting
back into a chair. As you go down, you should be simultaneously
bending at your knee and hip joints, but never let your back
round over. It is O.K. for your trunk to bend forward, but this
should come from flexion of your hip joint and not from bending
at your low back. Actually, it is a must that your trunk flex
forward to maintain your balance. If you attempted to keep your
back perpendicular to the floor you would lose your balance
backwards or would have to allow your knees to go past your
toes as you descended. The latter, by the way, is a huge no no.
You should never allow your knees to go past your toes. If you
do, you’re putting tremendous and potentially damaging pressure
on your knees. Descend until your thighs are parallel with the
floor. Have a training partner watch you from the side, so you
can get a feel for where this position is.

Once your thighs are parallel with the floor, press up. You
should now be simultaneously extending at your knee and hip
joints. A big mistake I see people making is they extend at
their knees without coordinated extension at the hip joint, as
well. This causes too much forward flexion of the trunk and
they inevitable round their back. They compensate by completing
the movement through extension of their low back, which
increases strain on the low back and could lead to injury.
Avoid this by remembering to keep your low back locked in and
your shoulder blades back, as you press up.

Another important point to mention is to always keep your eyes
straight forward throughout the squatting movement. Don’t
attempt to look at the ceiling or down at the floor. Both can
have detrimental effects on your form.

Now that you know exactly how to successfully and safely
perform the squat it is time to start practicing. I recommend
you use just the bar or broomstick to practice with until you
have mastered the proper technique. Use a training partner to
give you feedback. Once you have mastered the correct form you
can begin adding weight. Never sacrifice your form just to lift
more weight. I assure you that if you learn the correct form
your muscle and strength gains will soon follow. Best of all,
you will avoid injury.

Alright, it is time to put your new found knowledge of the
squat to work and watch as you take your strength and muscle
growth to a new level. I wish you the best of luck in your
fitness pursuits.


About The Author: Please visit
http://www.weightliftingstation.com/ or
http://www.thebodybuildingpro.com/ to find an extensive listing
of weight lifting, bodybuilding, fitness, and weight loss
related information, resources, and articles. Email
weight-lifting@aweber.com to sign up for our Weight Lifting
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