In my opinion, the Squat is king of the exercises and one of the best to perform routinely. Not only does it build up strength in the leg muscles, but it also burns fat more effectively, improves circulation and help us build core strength.
But sadly to many, we don't quite have the neuromuscular control we need to execute the move properly. We have common misconceptions of how we see the move performed and how our brains interpret that movement pattern. This also could be down to muscle imbalances and tightness. What results are injuries sustained to the knees, hips and the lower back.
So here are 5 easy things to think about when performing the squat:
1) Break at the hips first! If you look down, your knees should not visually push beyond the toes initially. Break at the hips first, so the knees don't get the first opportunity to shoot forward as you descend.
2) Shoulders back/Chest proud. I tell people to stick their chest out as they go into the squat, as people can sometimes lean forward too much and round the back.
3) Hips back. Imagine you're looking for that chair behind you to sit in. As you lower, push those hips back to find that invisible chair. (Sometimes I'll have people actually sit on a box, to get the right movement mechanics!)
4) Drive though the heels. If you find your heels coming off the ground or lean to side as you squat, we have a problem! (We may even need to address some calf tightness.) Make sure you keep those heels planted and push off from the bottom.
5) BREATHE! Save the best till last, right? Try to avoid holding your breath, although it's hard to do so when the going gets tough. Use the power of the breath to propel yourself back up to the starting position. Inhale as you lower, exhale as you lift up.