The squat is one of the best exercises for building slabs of dense muscle. There’s a reason it’s stood the test of time and has been used by legends of bodybuilding, including the “Quadfather” Tom Platz, to build massive wheels.
At the same time, it’s also one of the most bastardized exercises in the gym, either due to poor technique, improper set up, or flat out skipping the exercise altogether.
Here are three common squat mistakes and how to fix them.
#1 KNEES CAVING IN (KNEE VALGUS)
Perhaps the biggest mistake associated with squat is allowing the knees to cave in, which is usually due to weakness in the quads or external rotators of the hip (i.e. glute medius). This puts added (and unnecessary) on your knee joint, ligaments and connective tissue and can lead to injury.
Make sure your feet are hip to shoulder-width apart and have your feet turned slightly out (10-15 degrees). Then, focus on driving your knees out and inline with your second toe.
#2 COMING UP ONTO THE TOES
This problem is most commonly seen with beginners who are learning to squat but may have been too ambitious with their load selection. As they struggle to get out of the hole, they shift their weight toward the front of the foot, allowing the heels to rise off the ground.
This, again, puts added stress on the knee joint and can lead to injury.
When squatting, keep the pressure over your midfoot and use the heel and toes as your “anchor points” to keep you rooted to the floor.
#3 NOT SQUATTING
The squat is a fundamental movement pattern of the human body. In other words, if you want to accomplish even the most rudimentary movements throughout the day, you need to be able to squat.
Far too many individuals skip the squat altogether, most often on account of not having a strong enough work ethic or pain tolerance in regards to training. While not everyone is built to squat with a bar across their back, that doesn’t give you free reign to skip squats outright.
One of the very best things about the squat is that there are endless variations you can use to build massive legs, including goblet squats, landmine squats, hack squats, front squats, kettlebell squats, and split squats.
At the end of the day, you don’t have to back squat to build big legs, but you do have to squat in some way, shape, or form.
And, if you need some “liquid encouragement” to sack up for squats, make sure to mix up a scoop of our high-energy, hardcore pre workout supplement Executioner, which packs everything you need to kill leg day!