Straight as in flat with the neck arched and eyes looking forward. You do not lean as your hips descend the bend at the waist is a natural occurrence not something you initiate or do. Thrust your hips to the rear and lower them, keep your head erect and your upper body will assume the correct position. If your weight is on your heels your centre of mass is where it should be, over your flat feet. Your knees will go beyond your toes, it is a violation of the kinetics for the body to not allow them and you will be unstable.
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I am so happy to see this question. While doing my squats today I questioned my technique. I didn't lean forward too much, but I definitely felt like I was going to fall while keeping my balance on my heels. I will take all of the advice I found here and other sites to perfect my squats.
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Your back should be straight, not perpendicular.
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I like to do squats near my bed, so I have a place to fall if I need. It makes me a little braver.
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"I mean, my back is not perpendicular to the floor like the back of a chair."
Neither is mine - I feel like I'm at a slant, but I try to look straight ahead. My trainer says I'm doing them correctly. I imagine in time, my back may become straighter, but for now, my knees are behind my toes. Using the chair: Keep the chair behind you and try to keep your weight on your heels. If you feel a need to, briefly set your butt on the chair. Wall: If your're doing these at home and don't have a stability ball, try squatting against a wall,concentrating on keeping your weight on your heels and your toes behind your knees. You won't fall because the wall is there.
Personally, I'm making progress on the squats. It's the lunges causing me trouble now.
Thank you for all of the input. I looked at the videos, and I know what I'm *supposed* to look like. But, I can't go down too far without feeling like I'm going to fall. When I say I "lean forward at the hip" I mean, my back is not perpendicular to the floor like the back of a chair.
I'm holding onto a chair doing them now until I get better. I can do a "full squat" that way.
Thanks for this questions about squats and all of the information about how to do them correctly. Just finished reading Anatomy for Runners by Jay Dicharry. One of his recommended strength exercises is squats. I'll start off without weights and hope to progress from there. Thanks again for this information.
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My personal trainer had me start with the stability ball in the small of my back. In time, I progressed to the chair. At first, I was actually sitting a bit on the chair, as I too felt I might fall. Presently, I'm doing squats with the bench behind me. I know it's there, but I'm no longer sitting on it. Also, I'm using 5 lb dumbbells. My trainer suggested I stick my butt out during the squat, concentrating on keeping my weight on my heels. Don't know if that will help you.
"I lean forward at the hip a little to stay balanced, and don't let my knees go past my toes."
I see these as two errors which I would correct for a client. You never lean forward you keep you back flat and you head up with eyes forward. Stopping at parallel has been research proven to be dangerous to the knees since stopping at that point places the maximum shear stress on the knee joint. If a 400 pound sumo wrestler squats all the way to his heels I can assume it is not injurious to the knees.
The first movement in a squat is to thrust your hips to the rear as if you were going to sit in a chair.. Keeping your weight on your heels you lower your buttocks keeping you back flat and head up eyes forward. This keeps your centre of mass in proper relationship to your foot plant making you balanced and stable.
As Zorbs cited I will repeat the same url on how to properly execute a squat and the reasons to not stop at parallel.
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Does your gym offer a free training session? If so, use it. Or just ask someone. If you go on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you will notice that some people are just standing around and will answer your questions.
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If you're not comfortable squatting with a barbell because you're worried about your knees as well as your balance, use a stool or stable chair without the arms. A weight bench is about the right height too. Many gyms have table/stools the members use to practice jumping as well as squatting. I've seen many power lifters squat with a stool for form.
a squat is nothing more than sitting down in a chair and getting back up. That's how I teach my clients good form. I make them sit down and stand back up.
I found it easier to start with ball squats--using a swiss ball in the small of my back, and going into a squat against the wall. That gave me balance and support. I progressed to free squats, then to lifting.
Also, for me, exercise-quality squats are only possible if I'm well warmed up. If I do them otherwise, form's all over the place. Sure, I can squat to pick up the laundry without being warmed up, but that's a different ball of wax altogether.
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Squats are difficult to get right.
1] Do them in bare feet - padded shoes do not help 2] Stretch. At least three times a day squat down as far as you can go using something to hold onto. Invariably this will stretch parts of you that need stretching 3] Do goblet squats (no barbell) - again this is a stretch
Depth and good form is all. Even if you are only using the barbell go to parallel or lower. Do not allow your knees to go over your toes.
Watch some on the Rippletoe squat videos on youtube.
Lifting is all form Do it right or don't do it at all.
I am determined to do squats. My goal is to be able to do barbell squats, and do them properly. However, I can't go down far enough (thighs parallel, or almost parallel, to the ground) without holding on to something, or I'll fall.
I think my form is good, I watch myself in a mirror. I lean forward at the hip a little to stay balanced, and don't let my knees go past my toes.
I'll get better if I just practice, right? Is it better to do a few "real" squats holding onto a chair instead of a lot of "lazy" squats (not holding onto anything, but not going down that far)? Any tips to get better?
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