Two Squat Exercises

One of the first techniques you should learn is the traditional squat. With this technique, you place the bar high on your back. Sometimes you will hear this being called the bodybuilding squat. You should hold your shoulder blades back in order to help support the bar. You can either hold your wrists rigid or in the extended power-lifter style, it all just depends upon your personal flexibility. It is important that you keep your elbows under your wrists, because if you don’t you might rotate your shoulders. If this happens you could impinge your rotator cuff, which would in turn likely pinch a nerve. For some people, this makes their arm go numb.

Keep your legs shoulder width apart. Hold your feet in a natural position. Just stand casually. In general, most people’s feet point outwards a little bit. This is ok, because you can cause yourself injury if your try to force your feet to point straight.

The Traditional Barbell Squat
The proper alignment of the hips when performing this exercise is something that has been the topic of much debate. Typically, you should keep your back curved inward slightly rather than rounded. This would engage the muscles that protect the spine. You could also use a neutral hip position. With this position you would just rotate back the top part of your pelvis, and push the bottom of your pelvis forward in order to flatten your back. If you exaggerate this movement and thrust too much, you will round out your back. Only use enough rotation to make your back neutral. Keep your head forward and in line with your torso. Also, if you keep your head forward instead of looking up or down you can keep your spine aligned and avoid injury.

Go downward as if you were going to sit in a chair. Do not allow your knees to extend so far that they go past your toes. This particular exercise does place some stress on your knee joint, and the more your knees go forward, the more stress you put on them. If you sit back a bit, your weight will be transferred through your heels instead of your toes, placing more tension on your quads than your knees. In order to execute this movement correctly you need balance and flexibility. You can try placing your heels on blocks. Even though this does improve your balance, it does take away a bit of your flexibility. You would do better to address your lack of ankle flexibility by stretching instead of using blocks to eliminate the symptom.

Go down as far as you can without your knees going excessively forward or your torso going too far forward. Do not lean excessively, or you will place extra stress on your lower back which can lead to injury. Try to keep your torso as erect as you can. It is ideal for this squat if you can keep it perfectly vertical, but it is also common to use a bit of an angle.

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