Build Strong Legs With Squats

As we start to come into the warmer parts of the year we slowly start to see who has had a winter of hibernation from the gym and who has continued to push the boundaries and smash serious goals.

A goal that a lot of people are focusing on is building a stronger set of legs through doing compound movements such as squats. Unfortunately performing incorrect technique with a squat can have serious implications when it comes to lower back pain due to glute weakness and mobility.

A common issue that people have is that we lean to far forward, stimulating the lower back to assist in the lift from the bottom of the squat position and intern effecting overall performance and putting us at a higher risk of injury. However with correct strength movement patterns and mobility training you can correct this quickly to make sure you’re smashing those PB’s before you know it.

 

Mobility

  1. Stretching your calves – Our ankle mobility effects a lot of our squat pattern, moving from the floor we must look at the angle between the top of the foot and the shin. The more we can decrease this angle the better range of motion we have at the ankle meaning the lower we can get in our squat without having to compensate by leaning forward.
  2. Cossack squat- This is a great exercise to open the hips before performing heavy squats or sumo deadlifts, opening the hip joint and stimulating the adductor and glutes prior to lifting heavy.

    Cossack Squat
    Cossack Squat
  3. Masala pose- The masala is our oldest form of crouching, feet flat on the floor, calves touching hamstrings. This can be performed with neutral or flared knees and either flat or rounded back. Both variants would be best!WIN_20150205_182445
  4. Warm up- Always warm up using myofascial movements (hip swings, body weight squats, arm swings etc) never static hold stretches. This allows the body to be properly aware of the movement you’re going to get it to perform and puts you at a lower risk of injury.

 

Movement

  1. Squat triangle- We use a handy tool at Rarity Fitness, it’s called the squat triangle. It allows us to position our feet correctly depending on our height or optimal squatting performance (a mirror is needed to check posture during squat).
  2. Feet and knee position- Directing the feet out at a 45 degree angle allows us to ensure that the knees are heading in the same direction as the toes (no knock knees) which then allows us to stay more upright in the squat and intern avoiding leaning forward as much. A good technique we have to make sure our clients are pushing their knees out in the squat is the idea of screwing our feet outwards into the floor as they’re on their down phase. As they come up pushing into the outside heal of the shoe.fullsizerender-12
  3. Chest up- Keeping the chest up is an important part of a squat which will require mid thoracic and core strength. A common misconception is arching the back to allow the chest to stay upright but then lacking in mid back stability brings about the issue of flexion in the middle spine giving you a sore back after squatting.fullsizerender-11
  4. Eyes- Going back on our previous Facebook post about optical adjustments effecting our patterns of movement, we also look at it whilst we squat. As our eyes for most people are our first perception we automatically assume if our eye level is lowering that our body is lowering. This can be adjusted through thinking about sinking your bum down in-between your hips and maintaining a level eye focus.

 

Try each of these 4 points and see how your range of movement and squat mobility increases! You will feel your glutes growing and getting stronger from day 1 and achieve maximum result with less risk of injury.  For more info send us an email!