The Dos and Don’ts when it comes to squats

By Dinis Timoteo, Fitness Manager at Fitness First Uptown Mirdif Mixed

Squatting is the most predominant move we perform during the day. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what job you have or even what type of social life you lead. One thing is for sure, you NEED IT! it is one of the tools that will make your LIVE A LONGER AND MORE ENJOYABLE LIFE.

Most Common Squat Mistakes

Most of us who use the gym to improve our lifestyle or fitness levels have a simple relationship with squats… we simply love them or simply hate them. And most commonly, people despise them because they are NOT doing them the right way. I’m going to highlight a few of the most common mistakes we see everyone doing with their squats:


1. Back extended or flexed

Both of these movements mean there is a lack of engagement on your anterior chain core muscles (abs) or in you posterior chain muscles (back), which creates a disconnection between your upper and lower body.

2. Hip line not passing your knee line

Not bringing your hips down to your knee level will cause you to lose the range of motion in your squat, which later will cause you pain because of the lack of flexibility and/or mobility that was generated by not practicing it properly.

3. Knees collapsing inside

When doing a squat if your knees are collapsing inside towards each other, it will  cause a lot of pressure in your knees ligaments, which ends up taking the focus of strength away from your hips.

4. Knees passing in front of your toes

Driving your knees forward during a squat will input extra tension on your ankles and knees, which normally ends up causing a lot of pain and discomfort.


Key Points for a Perfect Squat

To make your squat experience better, here are a few points you will need to take into consideration:

1. Create Stable Shoulders 

Always set your shoulders in a stable position by creating force from external rotation. For example, pull your shoulders back while turning your thumbs toward the inside of your body. This tension on your back will stabilise your shoulders and turn on the muscles across your upper back, resulting in a braced-neutral spine.

2. Load your Hips and Hamstrings

You do this by tilting your torso forward and driving your hamstrings back. This will make you target the correct muscle groups. It will also allow you to hinge at the hips with the flat back and maintain proper torque through your arms and legs. It will fortify your posture so you don’t break at the lumber spine.

3. Distribute Weight in the centre of the feet

Imagine screwing your feet into the ground with your weight distributed over the centre of them. Remember to keep your entire foot on the floor.

4. Squat Stance

A wide stance will allow you to keep your torso upright. Positioning your feet outside of your shoulders is the most universal squat stance in sports.

5. Keep Shins Vertical

Keep your shins as vertical as possible when you descend and rise out of the squat. Vertical shins will allow you to channel the power of your hips and hamstrings and will consecutively unload weight from your knees.