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Five Tips To Doing The Back Squat The Right Way

By Akinwale Akinyoade 05 May 2019   |   2:30 pm

Ever wondered why you are consistent with your exercise routine but you are not getting the desired result? The answer could simply be because you are not doing it the right way!

The back squat is, for instance, a basic gym necessity because it helps you in getting that perfect form but as simple as this essential move is, many do not do it right. The back squat helps you to build size and strength in your lower body but if not done correctly, it can disrupt your entire training plan.

Before you grab your barbell and drop down as low as you can go, here are is a guide through the move’s subtleties, saving you from the bad habits that are keeping you from unlocking your fitness potential.

Sit Back, Not Down

The most common yet biggest mistake many make on the squat is to think that you only bend the knees. No need to bend the knees, this isn’t Game of Thrones and you are not pledging allegiance or loyalty! For the proper back squat, you need to bend your knees, and also bend at your torso at just the right time, so that your thighs wind up parallel to the ground when you’re near the “bottom” of your rep.

To help you achieve this unnatural squat rep, think of sitting back, not sitting down. Bend at the knees as you push your butt back. Do this right, and you will also avoid rounding of your lower back that can lead to lower back issues in the future.

Strong Back, Strong Core

The second-biggest mistake on any squat is to think of it only as a leg exercise and most make this wrong assumption because the weight “rests” on your back.

The back squat is a total body move from the very start to the finish and should be treated as such. Start each set of squats by approaching the bar, squatting under it, then pulling your torso into the bar, flexing your back muscles. Maintain a tight back once the bar is on your back, then tighten your core. Keep this tight posture as you do every rep. It will help you maintain a neutral spine, and as you start to use heavier weights, it’ll be absolutely critical.

A man in squat position Photo – MenAndFitness

Weight In Your Heels

When you are doing the back squat, it can be very tempting to shift forward onto the balls of your feet especially if you are bending at the knees only. Avoid this move. Rather, what you should focus on is keeping your weight in your heels both as you sit back and as you stand up throughout the squat. This will help you sit back properly.

A woman in a proper squat position with weight in her heels and looking forward Photo – Healthline

Look Forward, Not Up

The last thing you want to do when doing your squat is to look up because where the head goes, the torso will follow. Should you look up, what happens is that your spine is forced into extension and over-arches your back. This is a risky body position so instead of looking up, look forward a yard or two, and keep that gaze constant during the squat. This will help you hold a neutral spine throughout each rep.


Take Your Time

The squat is a full-body move that requires multiple muscle groups to work together. It is very different from a biceps curl (you move at one joint: the elbow), or even a bench press (you are mainly moving only at the elbows and shoulders).

When doing your reps, don’t rush it and try to “pound them out” quickly. No matter the number of reps you are doing, take your time. It will help you hone your form and not rush the move, and it will help you get the most strength benefit out of the move.

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