three Kind Fixes to Assist Repair Your Unhealthy Squat Kind

With all the different guides on exercising it can be very overwhelming for anybody and squatting is  one of those exercises high on the list that everyone has an opinion on.  There’s the basic how to’s, what’s a good squat form, and  what’s a bad squat form, and the countless tips on how to fix them all. It’s known fact that no two bodies are made the same, and it would be in good order to have a go-to guide for what moves suit your skeleton frame. When it comes to squats, we’re given an example of an exercise that has several “right” ways to complete it, thanks to this very fact.

The first step in learning the best way for you comes in learning the differences among the options you have available. Treat this as your holy grail for squats.

Per Bernal

Overhead Squats Form

The overhead squat is a demanding lift that works best for people who have good (if not great) mobility at the ball and socket joints – the hips and shoulders. From a skeletal perspective, having a longer torso and shorter legs becomes a huge advantage since it will be much easier to maintain a vertical trunk position and safe overhead bar position. Compare this to the aggressive forward lean most long-legged lifters will have to make in compensation, and we see why this movement may have a discriminating focus group. The overhead squat forces you to involve your core strength to perform the lift correctly, and if you can’t, there’s a good chance the bar will come down.

However, there is a drawback, you can only lift as much as you can hold overhead. That means it likely won’t serve as the best choice to train the legs in specificity. The overhead load also creates a greater safety risk than most other variations. If you have a history of shoulder issues or need to work on your general mobility, it’s probably not the safest lift to choose to add to your program.

The How To Fix Your Bad Overhead Squat Form:

Hold the barbell with closed fists using a width that puts the bar in the fold of your hips while standing tall. It’ll be a snatch grip. Press the weight overhead, and assume your comfortable squatting stance. Remember to keep the bar positioned directly above the ankles at all times. Before anything else, squeeze the bar tight with the fists and actively pull outward. This will engage the tissue in the back and create more stability at the shoulder joint and through the trunk. Keep pulling outward, and slowly squat down using your normal squat mechanics. Keep the head and eyes focused on the floor a few feet ahead of you. Be sure to exhale only on the way up.

Front Squat Form

Before you think we’ve left the taller, long-legged creed hanging out to dry by excluding them from overhead squat eligibility, we’ve got the solution. Applying a front load in a squat allows the torso to remain vertical so as to counter the severe lean that most other squat patterns will force their bodies into.

To amplify this, a slight elevation to the heels (via 5-pound plates, or a pair of weightlifting shoes) could come in handy—just make sure your knees can handle it. Moreover, if quad development is your goal, this is your move. The front squat, due to the knees-forward position, activates plenty of quads compared to other variations, and encourages a deeper depth, which means more knee flexion (for a greater demand from the quads to get you out of the hole).

On the flip side, this means giving up some gluteal and hamstring involvement for the sake of the movement. Also, there are two areas where mobility becomes a key player where front squats are concerned: the ankles and wrists. To hold a proper rack position, the wrists must have the ability to safely “break” for a high elbow position. Likewise, due to the generous knee-over-toe bottom position, ankle mobility (dorsiflexion) is important to have. Without it, the torso will pitch forward, and the bar will start to fall.

Lastly, if you’ve got issues with your mid back—especially a kyphotic spine (the “hunchback” syndrome), then you’ll probably find you’re in for an uphill battle with front squats. They do require good thoracic extension to successfully perform the move.

How to Fix Your Bad Front Squat Form

Set yourself up in the squat cage by using a clean grip on the bar. That means, hold the bar on the front of the body, with the elbows facing up, and the hands loose. The bar should be sitting close to the neck—not on the shoulders. To maintain this position, feel free to loosen your grip and let the bar sit in the fingers rather than the palm of your hand. It’s OK to remove the pinky finger and thumb from under the bar if needed.

While maintaining the high elbow position and keeping the head and eyes looking slightly downward (think of looking at your own knees through the mirror you’re squatting in front of), proceed to slowly descend to your bottom end range. If your elbows begin to drop, focus on pulling up with the hands on the way out of the bottom. If it still happens, slightly elevate the heels to keep your torso more vertical. Also, remove one finger from under the bar, as explained here.

Fitness model doing a barbell back squat exercisePer Bernal

Back Squat Form

This squat variation needs no introduction. It’s the most commonly practiced of this list, regardless of the gym you go to. It’s used as a learning tool and staple in the training of most lifters, widely ranging in body types. Also, it’s one of the more practical choices simply for the fact that it’s an ideal strength training tool. You can lift the heaviest loads with weight nested on the back, rather than supported on the collar or overhead. That means the potential for more calories burned and a greater (and faster) strength increase. It’s indeed a “foundation builder” that most people should acquire the skill sets to perform without a problem.

On that note, it’s not perfect – just like any other movement. Being stuck with the bar on the back can be hard on the shoulders if mobility is poor, or if the back squat is used extremely frequently. The shoulders are pulled into an aggressive external rotation to get the hands to hold the bar in place, and a tight or sore chest or deltoids can make this a difficult task. Furthermore, with a back squat comes more shear forces on the lower back, simply due to the mechanics of the movement. A barbell loaded on the back will cause more of a forward torso lean than one loaded on the front or overhead.

The How to Fix Your Bad Back Squat Form:

Set the bar at shoulder level, and position the hands on it just outside shoulder width apart. Step under the bar and squeeze the shoulder blades together before making your back contact the bar. When making contact, position the bar on the traps – not the spine, but slightly lower. Be sure it’s centered. Then squeeze outward with the hands to maintain upper back and trunk tension. Assume your comfortable squat width and slowly descend to full depth. Exhale on the way up. Keep the head aligned with the torso by staying focused on your knees in the mirror.

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