Alright, folks, it’s time to hit the gym and tackle one of the classic compound exercises—the back squat! Squats are a fantastic way to build lower body strength and power, but nailing the proper form is crucial to maximize your gains and prevent injuries. So, grab your workout buddy and let’s dive into these five fun and effective tips to level up your back squat game!
Tip 1: Set Your Foundation
Before you start loading up that barbell, let’s talk about setting up a solid foundation. Plant your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and ensure your weight is evenly distributed across your feet. This sturdy base will help you maintain balance and generate power throughout the movement (Johnson, 2018).
Tip 2: Embrace the Hip Hinge
Now, let’s get those hips moving! As you descend into the squat, imagine sitting back into an imaginary chair. This hip hinge motion engages your glutes and hamstrings, putting less strain on your knees (Contreras, 2019). So, instead of merely dropping straight down, stick your butt out, and maintain a proud, upright chest.
Tip 3: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
You might be tempted to check yourself out in the mirror, but during the back squat, focus your gaze straight ahead or slightly upward. Keeping your eyes in the right position helps maintain a neutral spine and prevents unnecessary strain on your neck (NASE, 2017).
Tip 4: Mind Your Depth
Here’s the deal: squat depth is essential, but it’s not a competition to see who can touch the ground first. Aim to squat until your hips go below parallel, where your thighs are parallel to the floor (Bryant, 2020). Remember, everyone’s mobility and flexibility vary, so find a range that feels comfortable, where you can maintain proper form throughout the movement. Check out this video on our Instagram account for tips on how to find your optimal squat stance.
Tip 5: Engage That Core
Your core is your secret weapon when it comes to back squats. Prioritize engaging your abdominal muscles throughout the movement to provide stability and support to your spine (Stewart, 2021). Imagine bracing your core as if you were about to take a punch, and maintain that tension throughout each rep.
Congratulations, squat enthusiasts! With these five tips in your arsenal, you’re well on your way to mastering the back squat form and taking your gains to new heights. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t shy away from experimenting and seeking feedback. In need of some extra support? Apply for an assessment with one of our experienced Trainers. Or, put your back squats into practice in one of our Strength Conditioning classes! Check out the schedule to find a class time that works for you. Get out there, have fun, and squat your way to a stronger, more powerful you!
Bryant, C. X. (2020). Squat. In NSCA’s Guide to Program Design (pp. 127-137). Human Kinetics.
Contreras, B. (2019). Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training. Victory Belt Publishing.
Johnson, L. (2018). Strength Training Anatomy. Human Kinetics.
NASE. (2017). Squat technique. National Association of Speed and Explosion.
Stewart, G. (2021). Core Strength Training. Human Kinetics.