Squats are an amazing full body exercise that allows you to tone and strengthen your entire body. Unfortunately, many people lose their perfect squat form and ability of childhood upon entering the adult years. You must work at preparing your body and perfecting your form to correctly execute a squat without pain.
Improperly attempting this exercise can cause serious injuries to your muscles, ligaments and tendons. If you go for a weighted squat without preparation, you could even damage the discs and vertebrae in your neck and back. Use the following tips to start your journey toward a perfect painless squat.
A well-executed squat should never cause pain in your knees, back or hips. If you experience pressure, tightness or shooting pain while performing squats, you may need to stretch tight ligaments. As you move into a deep squat, the ligaments in your ankles, knees and hips stretch to their limits.
Any ligaments unaccustomed to maximum flexion may halt at their established limits. If you push past this point, the ligaments will send warning signals in the form of pain and discomfort.
You can check the flexion abilities of your leg ligaments by placing your toe against a wall and gently leaning forward to touch the wall with your knee. If you cannot perform this move, you will need to work on mobility with daily band stretches and foam roller sessions.
Maintaining ideal form is key in performing squats without pain. You should practice perfecting your form in front of a mirror without holding any extra weight until you are happy with the results.
Hold your weight over your heels, not your toes, with your feet flat on the floor. Position your feet at shoulder width and point your toes slightly outward. While in descent, push your hips back and keep your knees moving slightly outward inline with your toes. Keep your legs, back and neck aligned with your eyes focused on a static point directly in front of you. Avoid arching your back or looking down at the floor. Always maintain a steady descent and ascent speed by keeping your core muscles engaged.
Once you are happy with your squat form, you can slowly add a bar and weights. The position of the bar on your back will change the overall angle of your body, though proper alignment will help reduce the risk of injury. While weighted in the squat rack, ask a fellow gym goer to check your squat form and offer tips.
Always remember to head into the sports medicine doctor if you ever feel lasting pain after completing squat exercises.
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