Squatting while lifting weights is a popular exercise, and it's easy to see why. This move works your entire body, although it is especially effective in targeting your hips, thighs, and buttocks. The benefits also extend to your tendons, ligaments, and bones. Don't let your enthusiasm for this move overshadow important safety considerations. As effective as the squat is, it can also lead to lower back and knee injury if not done correctly. Keep the following points in mind as you head to the gym.
Don’t Angle Your Knees Inward
Make sure your knees face straight forward as you bend and are slightly spread apart. This ensures your weight is evenly balanced between your legs so you remain stable as you lift. If your knees drift inward or you hear knee cracking, you could be damaging the joints as you squat. Watch yourself in the mirror to be sure you are doing it right.
It's easy to want to go hard or go home when it comes to exercise, and especially weight lifting. However, this is also a quick route to injury. As you continue your squats, remember to pace yourself. Increase the weight and number of reps slowly so you get used to different pressures. Quality over quantity is also important to remember. Doing just five or six perfectly formed squats will work your muscle groups much better than fifteen sloppy, or quick exercises. Doing less is also better for protecting your joints, especially when you do them in the correct position.
Use Your Abs
Doing a squat and lifting weights from a squat is all about your abs. Although it may not seem like this is the muscle group you should focus on, be sure you are aware of how you use your abs in a squat. Your legs should be pushing your body up, but only your abdomen will help to keep your back straight and your body upright. Feel your middle and back as you do your exercises and watch yourself in the mirror. Time and practice will help you to better utilize these muscle groups. Have an instructor come and show you where you might be going wrong.
When you're lifting weights, your posture is the key to success. Keep your shoulders rolled back with your chest in. Don't slouch or slope forward: let your weight sit on your glutes as if you're in a chair. Have your legs do their share of the work so you aren't putting as much pressure on your back. Before you even start doing deep squats, just watch yourself as you do some mini ones and see how your posture changes. Keep your back straight and remember you want to be working and pushing with your legs the most.
Get a Friend or Trainer Involved
It's a good idea to recruit someone as a spotter while you lift. Ask a friend, gym partner, or trainer to help you. They can help correct your form if necessary and make sure you're not over-exerting yourself. Books and online guides can also help. See how the correct form should look and see if you can replicate it. There are also many YouTube tutorials that can help you on the right path. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dy28eq2Pjc
What if Your Back Hurts?
Using the tips listed above definitely, reduces the risk of twisting your spine or tearing a muscle. That said, your back is the most likely area to be affected by weight-lifting as you squat. According to a Charlotte chiropractor, spinal decompressions are the most effective way to relieve back pain and they're incredibly easy to do as well. Simply hang from a pull-up bar and let gravity do the work. A spinal decompression means you're not re-exerting your back by bending over. Ultimately, you should listen to your body. If you're still experiencing pain, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a professional.
Weight training is the perfect full-body workout. You’ll get stronger legs, abs, back, and arms just through this one move, but you have to make sure you do it right the first time. Bad squats and fast weight lifting can damage joints or even put your body at risk. Taking precautions to have the correct form and proper balance means you can get even more out of this exercise! Be sure you stay safe and use the best form possible to give your body the workout it deserves.