UNLESS INJURED EVERYONE SHOULD BE ABLE TO SQUAT.
The health benefits it offers are what most people look for from exercise, here are a few examples:
WORKS THE ENTIRE BODY
SO WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH THIS??
We spend to much time in poor postural positions so we struggle with basic movement. The biggest 3 exercises I see people doing wrong or not using enough are the Squat, Push up and plank. Doing these exercises with bodyweight alone is a great way to stay mobile and strong.
The common attitude seems to be that unless you’re lifting heavy weights you’re not working hard enough, so if you can’t do it with heavy weight don’t bother. Due to different issues most people will struggle to Squat down comfortably and sit with their bums touching calves. If this is you then you probably have some tightness and Squatting with heavy weight can make it worse. If you are just starting out then you need to master the basics. This can also be said for people who have been training for years, because often they missed out these basics to begin with.
Tight Ankles, hips, glutes or a combination of them all will prevent you from doing this movement without difficulty and resistance, usually feeling forced and painful. According to the National Strength and Conditioning Association: “Squats, when performed correctly, are not only safe, but may be a significant deterrent to knee injuries.” So rest easy as long as you use proper squat form and correct version for your ability, the squat does not put your back or knees at risk of injury. But off you can’t do the basics why opt for advanced?
If you can’t perform 15 Bodyweight Squats (your own body without any added load) then you have no business being under the barbell. There is nothing wrong with taking a movement back to basics and focusing on form, it is often the only way to progress and ideally you should “de-load” and focus on technique every 3-6 months if you are serious about making long term gains and staying healthy and mobile.
MASTER THE BASICS
Stance. Squat with your heels shoulder-width apart. Put your heels under your shoulders.
Feet. Turn your feet out 30°. Keep your whole foot flat on the floor. Don’t raise your toes or heels.
Knees. Push your knees to the side, in the direction of your feet. Lock your knees at the top of each rep.
Hips. Bend your hips and knees at the same time. Move your hips back and down while pushing your knees out.
Lower Back. Squat with a natural arch like when you stand. No rounding or excess arching. Keep your back neutral.
Way Down. Bend your hips and knees at the same time. Hips back, knees out. Keep your lower back neutral.
Depth. Squat down until your hips are lower than your knees. Thighs parallel isn’t enough. Break parallel.
Way Up. Move you hips straight up. Keep your knees out, your chest up and your head neutral.
Between Reps. Stand with your hips and knees locked. Breathe. Get tight for the next rep.
Breathing. Big breath at the top. Hold it at the bottom. Exhale at the top.
If this feels comfortable for 3-4 sets of 15 repetitions with 30-60 seconds rest then try it with a kettlebell for the goblet squat. Once the goblet squat feels good and comfortable then use the barbell. These can all be put together as a warm up to barbell squat.
We’ll go further into variations of the Squat through videos and further posts.