Squats are the ultimate leg exercise, working the entire lower body and muscles. If you are looking to build bigger legs, then look no further than squats. Proper form for squats is essential to prevent injury and maximize you gains.
Starting Position: You will want to do barbell squats in a squat or power rack for safety reasons. If you do not have access to one, you might want to consider dumbbell squats. The barbell should rest on your upper back behind your neck. Grip the bar firmly, extending your arms well outside of shoulder width. Position you legs a little wider than shoulder width with your feet slight angled outward.
Performing the exercises: Keep you head stright ahead and your back straight as you slowly bend your knees until your thighs are slightly below parallel to the ground. Gently return the original starting position.
What not to do:
- Rounding the back – Avoid rounding your back when you perform a squat or you will risk injury. Ensure your back remains stright and your head remain stright ahead or slight angled up.
- Not going down far enough – Contrary to some opinions, stopping above parallel causes more injury to you knee than going below parallel. So make sure to go low enough and decrease your the weight on the bar if you are having problems.
- Resting the bar on your neck – The bar should rest on top of your back instead of on your neck.
- Pointing your knees inward – Make sure you do not let you knees point inward as your start pushing back up to the starting position. This tends to happen with new lifters or when you are lifting heavier weight.
- Leaning forward/weight on toes – push from your heels and do not let them come of the ground.
- Practice – Remember to first perfect your form before you begin lifting heavy weight.
- Go low enough – Remember no partial squats. Do not worry about how much weight you are lifting – go at least parallel to the ground.