There's no doubt that the squat is an awesome move to do regularly in your workout routine. However, loads of people do it wrong. When done wrong and loaded, squatting can cause serious knee and back injuries. When done right, squatting can build strength in the glutes, quads, hamstrings and core. Read on for tips with common squat misalignments and for how using a TRX suspension system can help you learn the correct technique.
Having trouble with your squat? Feeling off-balance? Experiencing instability in your knees or back? Not feeling the work in the right places? Experiencing discomfort? Try squatting with the TRX for a while. It will help you work on your alignment.
(Not sure what the TRX system is? See my footnote at the bottom of this post for a brief explanation.)
The TRX can aid you in finding the correct way to squat, which doesn’t come naturally to a lot of us. I see this a lot with new clients. The tendency for many people is to initiate the movement by bending their knees first (which is wrong), and then by sacrificing proper spinal alignment— rounding or flexing in their spine (which is also wrong) to make their squat “deeper.” The only things those misalignments actually do is compromise form. It’s kind of like you’re cheating your way into a deeper squat by making it seem like you’re lowering down more, but actually you’re just coming out of alignment. When you squat out of alignment and with load, you're asking for trouble.
So... If you’re having trouble squatting, here’s how the TRX can help! First, a video clip so you can visualize the tips...
With the TRX, you can:
• Practice the basics easier, like having the correct amount of core engagement that is absolutely necessary for a safe squat. You'll need to brace the core the whole time. Because the TRX is aiding you, you can concentrate on this crucial part of the squat.
• Practice keeping your spine neutral the whole time: no extension at the lower back, no rounding at the upper back, not looking up, and not hinging over too far at your torso... All of which are wrong and can cause serious back injuries. Start with your spine in neutral— crown of head lifted, tailbone pointing down toward your heels, and with strong core engagement to retain this alignment the whole time.
• Practice lowering your hips down and back and finding the correct way of getting into the movement without worrying about falling over backwards.
• Practice the grounding of the feet, which should be all over the feet, not just the heels, as many people do.
• Focus on proper knee alignment. Keep your shins parallel to your spine/torso. Your knees are going to shift forward some, but just stay aware that they track in line with your toes, and also that they don't shift forward without control. You're controlling the motion by lowering hips, not by shifting knees forward. Otherwise, it puts too much pressure on your knee joints.
• Tip: With the TRX helping you by holding on to the straps, it's tempting to simply pull yourself up after squatting down. Make the mental connection to using your lower body when rising. In other words, in this case (the squat), don't turn it into an upper body move.
The TRX gives you great assistance to learn a bodyweight squat in the correct way. Taking the time to learn the proper alignment will help you move safely and more effectively. After you get a bodyweight squat down, then and only then is it safe to start loading the movement. Just remember, an exercise like the squat may be hard— really, really, hard— but it should never hurt in the joints.
Happy squatting! Love + Light.
*(Not sure what the TRX system is? It's a suspension training system using sturdy straps and an anchor point to use with bodyweight moves. It's great for developing technique, stability, mobility, strength, and balance. It's adjustable in many ways, so it's accessible for many people. I use mine all the time personally and with my personal training clients. Check it out more through my Amazon affiliate link** for the TRX Go System, or even a TRX Suspension Trainer Bundle that comes with resistance loops.)
* *My Amazon links are through my Amazon Affiliate membership, so I earn a small fee (at zero additional cost to you) if you purchase through my link, which helps my blog out.
Thank you for reading! Sign up for my FREE Monthly Newsletter here. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest & YouTube here:
Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
• The Meaning of Namaste
• Confessions of a Self Care Hypocrite
• Living In The Age Of Social Media: Swapping Comparison for Gratitude
• My Exercise Manifesto
• 4 Exercise Hacks To Get YOU Moving