Are your knees or back killing every time you squat? If so, there’s a two-part process to getting squats right: know your form, and master a specific type of squat that puts less pressure on your joints. In this article, you’ll learn how to become the king (or queen!) of both.
Squats continue to be one of the best lower body workouts you can do. Squatting doesn’t just give you a tighter tush, a stronger core and killer thighs, but it also provides the following benefits (just to name a few!):
• Improved posture
• Minimizes cellulite
• Increases your ability to minimize the risk of injury
• Burns fat and increases your entire body strength
• Builds healthy joints and bones; and…
• It boosts your overall confidence, inside and (especially) outside of the gym!
Phase 1: Own Your Form
If you’re wobbling while you squat, squats could cause an injury—and the same goes for a slouched back or too much kettlebell weight. Your head should be in the correct position: looking straight ahead in front of you. Your shoulders should be arched back, and your chest should be out (slouching shoulders can result in injury!) Pay special attention to your back, because rounding it can cause extra pressure on your vertebrae (which can be very painful). A slightly rounded lower back is ok, but as a rule of thumb, keep your back flat as you squat. This will protect your knees, shoulders, back and core.
Phase 2: The Joint Pain Minimizer Squat
Now that you know what proper form looks like, try squatting according to the tips above. If you find that your joints are still experiencing pain, try the ‘joint pain minimizer squat’! It may be the perfect solution for long-term (fitness) gain:
• Knee pain: knee pain happens when you have the weight come onto your toes, and then you arch forward in a squat, causing the weight to put pressure on your knees. Solve this by squatting with your toes at a 45-degree angle. (This slight tweak will solve 95 percent of your knee issue while squatting.)
• Back pain: most people who experience back pain while squatting can correct it easily—and still use the traditional squat exercise on a regular basis. If your back hurts while squatting, your body is trying to tell you that you are incorrectly leaning forward—which is putting unnecessary strain on your back.
Check your posture by squatting in front of a mirror, and make sure that you aren’t rounding your back when you lower your body in a squat. And take your time—this isn’t a race!
It won’t take long to get the correct squat posture under control—but it’s worth doing it right (otherwise, why do it at all?) When you focus on form, you can achieve amazing results, pain-free!