How To Squat, Squatting 101, THE SQUAT
by Pro Powerlifter Daniel Conner
So...here is my lesson on How To SQUAT. I would like to start by saying there is no single best way to squat for everyone! There are about as many variations as body types. Also let me say that the squats when done with good form WILL NOT DAMAGE THE KNEE. It will only strengthen the knee. So, now there are no excuses. Not only is the squat prescribed every day to rehabilitate knee injuries but also to prevent knee injury when training for sports.
So now lets get started with bar placement
With the power squat we are utilizing the low bar placement not the high bar placement (not putting down high bar). With this lift the bar should be placed about 1 1/2 inches below the tops of the deltoids, low on the traps and just above the rear deltoid. With this position, the bar will travel in a straight line from the hips, which is best for leverage. Of course there are some lifters that can keep the body erect with the bar in a high position but it isn't easy. It is my opinion that more weight can be handled and better control can be maintained with the low bar placement. Low bar lifters will have more gluteal and erector development and high bar lifters will have more quadriceps development.
Bar Placement On The Rack
This a personal choice, but remember, the more work you have to do getting the bar in and out of the rack, the less you will be able to do when you squat the weight. Use as little movement as necessary getting out of the rack with the weight. Every time you have to take a step backward you are using up valuable energy. Not to mention having to return the weight once you are done. The squat rack always looks like it is further away once you have finished a heavy set.
Hand placement can effect one's performance. With a narrower grip, more upper body synergistics are brought into play. This includes the traps, rhomboids, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres major and minor, and the lats. Wider hand placements are usually used by those with less flexibility or gripping problems. Bar control is lessened as the hands are placed wider apart.
The head position is the one point most experts agree on! The head should be up, the shoulders back and the chest out. This will keep the spine in an erect position avoiding injury and not compromising leverage. t has been observed in many sports, that the body tends to lean in the direction in which the eyes are pointed. When looking down, one tends to lean forward. It works best to find an imaginary spot about eye level when standing erect and keep the eyes fixed on this spot during descent and ascent.
Stance and Foot Placement
The stance is an area no one agrees on. There are good squatters with a narrow stance as well as good squatters with a wide stance. The best suggestion is to start about shoulder's width and find a comfortable stance where you can perform a squat with good form using no weight. Experiment! Toes, however should be pointed outward at about a 45 degree angle. This helps to distribute the weight a little more evenly and also gives you a better base. The weight when squatting should be about 75% on the heel of the foot.
It is would suggested that you go no further than just below parallel. That means where the top of the thigh (where it joins the hip) goes below the top of the knee. It is suspected that going beyond this point places unnecessary stress on the patellar ligament and the cartilage of the knee.
The belt is utilized to maintain lumbar integrity throughout descent and ascent. Get a belt that is as wide in the front as in the back. Refrain from wearing a belt during lighter sets. Try to only wear a belt for near-maximal and maximal sets or the heavy work sets. The beltless sets allow the deep abdominal muscles to receive a training stimulus without placing excessive compressive forces on the spine disks. The lifting belt should be worn as low on the hips as possible. It is not necessary to have it super tight, but just snug. This will enable the abdominal muscles to maintain adequate pressure to keep the spine in proper position. I suggest you check out www.prowriststraps.com for all your belt needs.
Knee wraps are not only a necessity for safety they are an aid in squatting with heavier weights. Knee wraps accomplish this by adding a tremendous amount of support and spring to the bottom of the squat enabling you to train with heavier weights. Knee wraps actually help you get out of the hole. . There are many different brands of knee wraps from which to choose, I personally suggest and use APT brand of knee wraps . I suggest you check out www.prowriststraps.com for all your knee wrap needs.
Now that you know how to squat stay tuned to my next article where I will teach you how to push your squat through the roof. The exact programs that brought me my 1085# equipped squat @ 220 . Thank you for your time and I will see you soon ,