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How to improve your squat

Five ways to improve your squat

The squat is one of the most used exercises in strength training. What can you do to improve your squat? It’s one of the big five compound exercises, which means that it targets more than just one or two muscles (like with an isolated exercise). It has been well studied and the advantages are plenty (core strength included).

This exercise trains your upper legs (mostly front and back) – if you do it correctly, that is. 

To improve your squat effectively, we wrote down some points you could work on:

     

      1. One of the obvious (bio)mechanical parts of the squat is how (well) your knees can bend. For an effective squat you want to ‘drive’ your knees forward and keep them from ‘falling in’.

        Let’s start with the knees forward. If you were ever told that your knees should not go over your toes because this is bad for your knees, you can forget about this. If you build up the load (resistance) of this exercise over time you can and should be able to let your knees go over your toes. This allows you to squat deeper and therefore training more of the muscle. This means you are closer to putting resistance on the muscle through the whole range of motion that it can go through.

        Then the famous (if you ever worked with a trainer or are a trainer yourself) ‘knees out’ or ‘spread the floor’ cue. This is important because this can help to also use more of your butt muscles (glutes). This way you can produce even more power and get the bar up easier.

      1. Your toes. Yes, your toes. To get even more out of your glutes you can try pointing your toes slightly out. This helps some people to contract the glutes even better. Try it out.

      1. Another, maybe less obvious, (bio)mechanical part of the squat is how much you can bend around your ankles. The further you knee goes forward the smaller your ankle angle becomes. So, for a good squat you need good ankle mobility. You can work on this by adding a regression to the squat that works the ankles. A front foot elevated split squat where the goal is for the hamstrings to cover the calf  is a great way to slowly progress to more ankle mobility.

       

        1. Don’t forget about your core as well! During the squat you want to be strong in your core so no energy is ‘leaking’ out by rounding the back for example. Train to be able to ‘brace’ your core by doing deadbugs for example.

         

          1. The last point we have for you is using heel elevation. This is the last point because we rather have you work on the above points first. But because this can help you build strength and muscle while you work on the other factors, we still want to mention it. Using heel elevation helps to decrease the ankle mobility needed to perform a deep squat. Don’t forget to pay attention to the other technique points for the squat and we’re sure you will improve your squat.

        Still having troubles with your squat after these tips? Feel free to contact us and schedule an intake, and our Personal Trainers are happy to help you!

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