6 common Squat mistakes


Squatting is, undoubtedly, one of the most important exercises to strengthen and build muscle mass. The benefits associated with this exercise are varied, but to take advantage of all the positive effects, you need to do it correctly because we frequently see badly executed movements and incorrect positions that may compromise the results and cause injuries. So, take note of the mistakes you must not make when squatting and learn to avoid them on your workouts:

1. Arching your back.

This is the most common mistake. What happens? The athlete performs the movements arching the back forward or lowering the trunk to compensate the flexion of the hips. Don’t bend forward and don’t flex your muscles to avoid an excessive pressure on your back and also on your knees.

How to correct it?

When squatting, keep your trunk as straight as possible and lower your body into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t forget to always look forward and to extend your chest and pull your shoulders backwards.

Tip number 1: to maintain balance, point your feet a little bit outwards. You can also use the bar without weight, to get used to the movement.

Tip number 2: Try to lower your hips before bending the knees.

Tip number 3: Strengthen the lumbar region with these exercises: Deadlift and Good Morning.



good morning

Good Morning

READ ALSO: 10 useful tips to develop the calves

2. Little extension during the movement.

In order to use the gluteal muscles and the superior part of the thighs, you must do the exercise in a complete way, so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

How to correct it?

Do the movement without weights, placing a bench at the size of your knees to know, more or less, how low you can go when performing the exercise. The lower you go the better it gets.

Tip 4: When squatting, bend the knees more than 90º, because expanding the movement will require 7,4% more effort from your gluteal muscles. However, there are different theories about the maximum bending point, bearing that in mind, in some cases, it may be advised to go only until your flexibility allows you to go.

Tip 5: The yoga position, Malasana Pose (B), can be a good exercise to increase flexibility.

3. Let your knees bend inside.

If your knees bent inwards it means that you might be applying inadequate pressure over the knee ligaments, your hips might not be that flexible or you may have a weak internal and external part of the thigh. This movement may aggravate or create injuries.

How to correct it?

Avoid pointing your feet forward, it’s best to point them slightly outwards and letting your knees separate one another when going down. When going up, focus your strength on your heels pushing them against the floor, without approximating your knees.

Tip 6: Strengthen the inner part of your thighs with adduction exercises.

4. Letting your knees cross your toes.

A study made by Memphis University, USA, concluded that when individuals let their knees cross their toes, there’s 28% more pressure applied on the knees.

When individuals force the control over the forward movement of the knees, there’s 100% more stress on the hips.

How to correct it?

While you are doing the exercise try to push the hips backwards before lowering the body towards the floor and maintain the body weight on your heels. That will help you correct the posture of your knees, preventing them from crossing the tip of your toes.

Attention: If you, instinctively, support your weight on your toes, you’re probably bending your upper body forward too much.

5. Don’t use much weight.

Sometimes you may think that you are doing the exercise with less weight than you think you can manage, considering that you are doing your best. People usually think they need to do many reps in order to have a lean thigh, however, if you don’t use more weight, you won’t have a good muscular stimulus. Your glutes and thighs muscles are the strongest muscles on your body. So, if you dominate the technique and you are still able of doing more reps on the last set, then you’re not lifting enough weight. The fact you’re not using enough weight, besides causing more metabolic stress, will prevent you from burning more calories and exercising your glutes efficiently.

6. Doing always the same squat variation.

Do not expect different results if your keep doing the same thing.

How to correct it?

Try to change the squatting exercises, the number of sets and repetitions, the position of the foot, the length of the movement and even adding more weight.

If you feel your joints are more fragile you may need to add a food supplement to your diet to help you promote your mobility, prevent injuries and relieve the pain. Have a look at, What are the best supplements for your joints?


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Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, Top 1 Squat Mistakes, n/d, adaptation of the original version

N/d, Agachamentos – Quais os erros mais comuns?, July 2014, translation and adaptation of the original version


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