Squats are probably one of the best exercises you can do for your legs. However, they can also end up injuring your knees if you don’t do them correctly.
As with any exercise, proper technique should always come before cranking up the intensity of an exercise by doing it faster, longer or with more weight.
One of the biggest mistakes people often make when performing squats is not using their hips enough and over utilizing their knees, says rehabilitation and fitness expert Rick Kaselj (creator of the Fix My Knee Pain program).
In the video below Kaselj explains how do do the squat properly and without putting your knees at risk.
When you over utilize your knees, it puts excess stress on your knee joint, says Kaselj. This leads to reshaping that knee in a negative way. This can cause a pain cycle within the knee which is maintained through using incorrect technique during your workouts.
So, what you want to do when it comes to the squatting pattern – both when you workout or exercise and throughout your day to day life – is to utilize the hips more.
This will shift the stress that is placed on your body during the squatting movement from your knees to your hips. Because there are big muscles around your hips they are much better equipped to handle this stress.
The wrong way to squat
- Not moving your hips back enough
- Allowing your knees to move past your toes while you squat
- Putting your weight on the balls of your feet, which lead to more stress on the knee
Doing squats like this puts unnecessary stress on your knee joints and is likely to lead to knee problems in the long run.
The correct way to squat
- Shift your weight on your feet so it’s either in the middle of the foot or even on the heels
- Start the squatting movement from your hips by moving them back
- Bend through the knees while keeping your weight in the center of your feet or your heels
- Make sure your knees don’t go past your toes at any point during the squatting movement
- You can hold your hands out in front of you for balance and to help maintain proper posture
Paying attention to these points will ensure you maintain good posture during your squats and that you don’t place too much stress on your knees.
When done correctly, squats are a great body weight leg exercise that you can do anywhere to build up leg strength and tone both your leg muscles and your glutes.
Because the exercise uses some of the biggest muscles in your body it’s also a great way to burn a lot of calories fast. This makes it a great exercise to include in your fat burning workouts.