If you belong to a gym, you know there is no shortage of unsolicited exercise advice and you have probably heard it all—even if you didn’t ask for it. One exercise people need good quality advice on is squatting. Although the exercise seems simple, there is actually a lot to performing a squat correctly and safely. Done incorrectly, squatting with load (e.g. a barbell) can lead to significant injury. Since the squat is one of the most effective exercises out there, this article will set the record straight on the dos and don’ts of squatting…
1. Worst: Arch Your Back
Arching your back or lifting your chest is often given as cue meant to remind you to keep your spine neutral, not flexed. Unfortunately, this cue can often lead exercisers to over-arch their back, causing increased pressure on their mid and lower back. Additionally, exercisers then tend to strain their neck backwards to compensate for the exaggerated arch in their back, leading to neck strain.
What you should do is focus on a neutral spine and keeping your neck relaxed by tucking in your chin slightly. If you have a friend snap a photo of you, you should notice a gentle curve from your mid to low back and your bum pushed back, not under. If you see your bum tucked under, this means you have posteriorly tilted your pelvis, , is a precursor to back injury. To practice, stand above a chair and think about reaching back towards the chair, bum first.