How to Do The Bodyweight Squat: The Complete Guide

Bodyweight Squat, along with Bench Press, Overhead Press, Deadlift, Push Up and Pull Up, is a functional movement and builds the foundation for your body. The Bodyweight Squat is a dynamic strength training exercise that not only targets your lower body but also your upper body; your entire body works together while performing this movement so naturally, your balance and mind-muscle connection improve. Bodyweight Squat targets your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor, hip flexors, and calves.

Learning The Bodyweight Squat

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Keep your toes pointed slightly outwards. Retract your scapula and your arms should be on the sides with the palms facing inwards or up in front of you, whatever you’re comfortable with.
  2. Keep your core tight, hold your chest up and out, tilt your head slightly up, shift your weight back into your heels.
  3. Begin descending downwards by lowering your hips down and back. As you descend downwards, you’ll notice your knees shifting forwards, try to minimize the forward shift of the knees. Your core should be tight throughout the motion and do not let your bodyweight shift on the toes, try to keep it uniformly distributed. Your back should be straight.
  4. Continue with the downward descent to the point you’re comfortable with, the minimum you should is till your thighs are parallel to the ground. You can slowly transition to a deep squat if you’re not comfortable with the movement right now.
  5. Now, start ascending upwards while maintaining your back, chest, and head-up position, exhale and extend the hips and knees by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso need to rise together while keeping the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned over the second toe. Continue extending until you reach your starting position.

Common Mistakes

  • Incorrect Stance – If you don’t stand in a proper stance, it can lead to all types of problems while performing the bodyweight squat. It can throw you off balance or you might not be able to squat deep enough. What you should do is stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and point your toes slightly outwards.
  • Knees Caving Inwards – I have pointed it out earlier in the article. It is a common problem that a lot of people face and it is easily avoidable by keeping your knees aligned with your toes and pushing them outwards with the help of your elbows.
  • The Pressure is Not On Your Heels – You should feel the pressure on your heels as you ascend from the bottom of the squat. You are doing it wrong if you feel the weight on your toes and it is easily noticeable. Putting weight in the toes is more likely to throw you off balance, compromise the integrity of your knees, and prevent you from increasing the resistance of the exercise over time. As you squat down, make sure your chest and torso remain upright and tall. You should be able to wiggle your toes a little as you squat. This will help remind you to keep your center of gravity positioned farther back and more centered over your heels than farther forward on your feet. Your weight should be evenly distributed across your feet, with the exception of the toes—none of your weight should be supported on your toes.
  • You Don’t Keep Your Back Straight – As the weight is in front of your body, you are bound to lean forward but it is best to avoid it. To prevent this forward lean, set up in front of a mirror so you can see your side in its reflection. Before you begin your squat, draw your shoulder blades toward your spine and roll your shoulders back. Engage the muscles of your core, and as you start to press your hips back to start the squat, watch yourself in the mirror.

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