Despite the popular belief that you are not really squatting, unless you just about touch ground, going too deep in your squat is actually not the best idea for various reasons. There are quite a few aspects to consider when attempting to perfect the ideal squat and avoiding certain injuries as well as minor aches and pains is possible by adopting specific techniques. Tight hip flexors, or tight hamstrings, can limit the depth of your squat and cause some noticeably sudden and unpleasant pains in your hips, pelvis, and upper legs. You can avoid this by not going too deep into your squat and ensuring that your thigh is parallel to the ground, any lower is too deep. Ideally, overexerting your body is never a fantastic idea and it is always best to gradually build up your abilities while adapting proper squatting techniques.
How to execute a proper squat
Firstly, when you squat down, the top of your thighs should be parallel to the ground for an ideal minimal squat, any higher up and you just aren’t doing it right. Even though you can go much lower into your squat, it is a much better idea not to, especially if you are a beginner. While going too deep in your squat is not really advisable, not going deep enough will provide practically no results as far as building muscle is concerned.
While moving down in your squat, you should notice that your tailbone moves slightly inward just after you have passed the point when the top part of your thighs are parallel with the ground, this signifies your ideal depth for a proper squat, any further down is too deep. Keep in mind that a wider stance will better allow you to execute a proper squat.
There are quite a few things that can go wrong when attempting to execute a proper squat, even though it may seem simple. Below are some of the more common squat mistakes explained by Dr David Hoper from BroScience, along with expert advice on how to avoid them.
Tips to fix what you might be doing wrong
An important thing to remember is to watch your knees while you squat, if your knees move towards one another you are using the wrong muscles to execute your squat, which could lead to an injury and it will also result in a completely ineffective squat. To make sure that this does not happen, it would be a great idea to improve your ankle mobility. You can even opt to use a resistance band just above your knees to direct your mental focus towards opposing the force and keeping your knees apart.
If your heels are lifting off the ground when you go into your squat, you are moving your body wrong, which means that your squat will not be effective at all. Lifting heels during a squat could be the result of tension in your back that is not allowing you to perform a proper squat. If this is the case, adopting a good posture can fix the issue. Additionally, tight calves and tight hip flexors can also cause your heels to lift up and you can fix the problem by practising leg stretches to warm up your muscles.
Another common squat mistake is allowing your knees to travel forward past your toes. This can lead to serious knee injuries considering all the damaging pressure you are putting on your knees. It is crucial that to avoid this mistake, you should squat down to a sitting position, as you would on a chair.