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One common squat mistake is for one or both knees to collapse inward as you lower into your squat. The reason your knees cave in may be a lack of form know-how, but it can also be the result of a muscle imbalance. This is less of a ‘mistake’ and more of a risk. 6 Common Squat Mistakes to Avoid and How to Correct Them.

WORKOUT MUSIC. RELATED POSTS. Training Legs Twice A Week: How to Build Bigger Legs.

Leg Press Foot Positions for More Mass and Definition. Supersets For Shoulders: Workout For Building Huge Delts. One common squat mistake is for one or both knees to collapse inward as you lower into your squat. The reason your knees cave in may be a lack of form know-how, but it can also be the result of a muscle imbalance.

This is less of a ‘mistake’ and more of a risk. Letting Your Knees Move Inward. Never allow your knees to cave inward as you descend. That puts too much stress on your knees and can damage the ligaments.

Solution: As you squat, try to push your knees slightly outward so that your knee caps point toward the same direction as your toes. Mistake # 5. One common squat mistake is for one or both knees to collapse inward as you lower into your squat.

The reason your knees cave in may be a lack of form know-how, but it can also be the result of a muscle imbalance. This is less of a ‘mistake’ and more of a risk. A common mistake people make while doing squats is to begin the movement from the knee rather than the hip. This generates maximum strain on the wrong muscles (the quadriceps instead of the glutes) while also increasing the risk of knee injury.

Avoid forcing your pelvis into an anterior pelvic tilt (i.e., when your belt buckle points downward). Instead, keep your lower back neutral and maintain that position throughout your squat. (It also helps to keep your neck neutral and your eyes focused on something a. Mistake #2: Your knees push past your toes.

If your knees move beyond your toes at the bottom of your squat, you may experience knee pain or injury. “Leading with your knees causes quad dominance,” states Cunningham. “That’s not to say your quads shouldn’t be used, but squats should primarily engage your glutes. Rounding Your Lower Back. Always maintain a flat, neutral spine when squatting. If you round your lower back, you’ll put dangerous stress on your lumbar spine. In the squat community, this is called a “butt-wink” because, as you descend towards parallel, your butt tucks underneath and your lower back rounds.

Additionally, avoid squatting on plates or heel boards, which push your knees forward. If you’re using a leg-press or hack-squat machine, the same thinking applies, but the line will be coming up from the foot plate. Here, place your feet higher on the foot plate, which will take some of the emphasis off the quads and knees.

List of related literature:

Again, I cover these faults and corrections in more detail in the Squat section.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

Second, never squat without a safety rack or experienced spotters.

“Bending the Aging Curve: The Complete Exercise Guide for Older Adults” by Joseph F. Signorile
from Bending the Aging Curve: The Complete Exercise Guide for Older Adults
by Joseph F. Signorile
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For example, if you initiate a squat by flexing your knees first, your knees will be loaded maximally as you lower into the squat, which is not ideal.

“Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance” by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
from Becoming a Supple Leopard 2nd Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
by Kelly Starrett, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2015

Avoid these common mistakes: using a grip that is too narrow, letting the elbows Squeeze intoo closetothebody instead of flaring out, finishing the exercise with the upper body above parallel to the floor, not arching the low back, and locking the knees.

“Natural Bodybuilding” by John Hansen
from Natural Bodybuilding
by John Hansen
Human Kinetics, 2005

The key moment, which also is the most challenging, is the transition from the Long Bent Sit to the Single-Leg Deep Squat.

“The Practice of Natural Movement: Reclaim Power, Health, and Freedom” by Erwan Le Corre
from The Practice of Natural Movement: Reclaim Power, Health, and Freedom
by Erwan Le Corre
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

For instance, some well-respected coaches say that your knees should never go past your toes when you squat, that rounding your spine on a deadlift is okay, and that touching the bar to your chest on a bench press is bad for your shoulders.

“Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body” by Michael Matthews
from Bigger Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Male Body
by Michael Matthews
Waterbury Publishers, Incorporated, 2019

For instance, a squat performed with the feet wider than shoulder-width apart and the toes pointed diagonally (often done in powerlifting) is not mechanically effective since the quadriceps muscles are not contracting along the line of pull.

“Serious Strength Training” by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
from Serious Strength Training
by Tudor Bompa, Mauro Di Pasquale, Lorenzo Cornacchia
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

To prevent strain on the back muscles, it is important to squat, bending the hips and knees while keeping the back straight and in proper alignment.

“Home Care Nursing Practice: Concepts and Application” by Robyn Rice
from Home Care Nursing Practice: Concepts and Application
by Robyn Rice
Mosby Elsevier, 2006

One hypothesis brought forward is the ‘squatting hypothesis,’ which assumes that the modern habit of failure to squat leads to shortening of tendons and inadequate stretching.

“Encyclopedia of Sleep” by Clete Kushida
from Encyclopedia of Sleep
by Clete Kushida
Elsevier Science, 2012

The real problem with the squat is that few people do it correctly.

“Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body” by Michael Matthews
from Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body
by Michael Matthews
Oculus Publishers, 2019

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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37 comments

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  • Thank you so so so much. I appreciate the repetition on how “not to do it” while instructed the correct manner. Very helpful! Already subscribed sis:)

  • Okay you know what, yall youtubers need to agree on just one thing, I literally just seen a video of a man’s channel named MRLONDON who’s just said the opposite. ����‍♀️

  • My knees feel like they’re being pulled in, my ankles feel like they’re being pulled out and forward… all of which wouldn’t bother me if I could just learn to squat without fainting (chronically low BP, so I assume it’s lack of blood to the head).

  • You squat with all knees. Thats not gonna work for most people and usually causes pain under load. Hips come back first then knee bends. Torso can come forward.

  • I did squats one time with weights and the bar and accidentally focused on something lower down and it almost went over my head hahaha

  • I am gal and I have just started squatting for 4 days with three days of the Smith Machine and my butt doesn’t hurt but my hamstring musclers and the upper leg muscles. PLEASE HELP.

  • Hi Hanna! I would love if you would talk about training after or in the end of sickness. I’m having a cold and coughing right now and my energy level is like soo low that I had rest every 200 m walking home from the grocery shop yesterday��
    How do I transition from this to begin to workout again?
    Och tack för en inspirerande o underbar kanal fantastiska kvinna❤️❤️❤️

  • How to go down in a squat? Why do we need to push our hips back before we squat down?
    When doing squat, is the movement only happening in the hips, keeping the shin unmoved? Thanks.

  • How do I push up with my glutes? I’ve watched the video a couple of times and have tried it how you’ve shown it, but I always seem to feel it in my knees rather than my glutes. Can you tell me what I’m doing wrong?

  • Thanks very much for the detailed breakdown. I’m recovering from a past knee injury and looking to strengthen my legs again with body weight. The small details will go along way!

  • This brought instant relief to my knees when doing squats. Thank you sir! I just started working out and was wondering why squats hurt my kneecaps so much. What a great video.

  • Glute activation will not occur until legs drop below parallel. I back equated up to 900 lbs to parallel but could only flute bridge 440 and reverse lunges were yet worse. Strong legs and back but weak links in the chain go lower or perform assistance exercises with full range of motion.

  • Are you telling us this is the correct way to perform squats..to me your legs take on a very wide stance..I always thought it was shoulder width apart.????

  • I’m 14, 5’3, 123 pounds and yesterday I squat 200 for 2 reps. Almost died. Back is still in pain. Ass wasn’t to the grass on the first on the second it was and I legit was about to fall on my face due to the 200 pounds on my shoulders. Might not count because it was on a smith machine

  • This stuff is more techo than it looks but wouldn’t it be better to use the bar or the bar+10kg 2X5kg until the movement is correct.

  • Unfortunately heavy squats are perfect recipe for hemorrhoids or even rectal prolapse. I recommend doing more reps with lighter weight.

  • I was trying my best to follow your instructions, but my knees were still feeling pretty strained while I was doing the squat. any possible reasons why this might be? (note: I wasn’t even using a bar or weights, I was just trying to get the basics of squatting down. I apologize if I shouldn’t be posting this here)

  • I’m about to try my first squat. I don’t know why I never added this obvious must have to my list…. No, acually I do know. it’s the fused spine….. I’m going to give it a few months at home…. riducoulsy light. and if it goes okay, great. Raise the weight… watch out for pain

  • Question: why do my arms always get tingly like they re asleep even though i am not using that much weight. And the bar placement seems correct compared to videos like this. Not on a neckjoint or anything like that. Seems like its because my arms are far back holding it on the traparea?

  • Hey guys little help.
    My mom a 60 y.o lady, decided to start working out. She said “I want better legs” I told her a good start would be squats.
    Thing is, she absolutely cannot do a squat without curving her back forward. Looks like the mistake #1, except she ain’t holding anything on the back of her shoulders, she was placing her hands as a front squat.

    How to fix it?

  • this is actually incredibly helpful. but its also very important to consider all the other 100 reasons why your squat might be shit.

  • At first, I think you should be able to do bodyweight squat with perfect form first (full range of motion included) and then move to weighted squat.

  • I recently discovered your videos and have to say, I’m a major fan. I’ve lost 50 pounds over the last 10 months, and your tips really help me take my workouts to the next level for better and faster results!

  • I’ve been trying to explain the “keep your back straight “ everyone says it doesn’t mean staying upright or shooting your hips all the way back it’s hard to explain that someone

  • Thanks for helping me understand the dos and the don’ts and I like your blooper session at the end, do one on rounding your breasts naturally ������

  • Thanks for the tips i was having problem always coming up in my front foot now i know come up with heels like coming off chair thanks

  • when i squat, my asshole puckers up b/c the grass tickles and gently caresses my hemorrhoids. i’m already taking a lot of fiber. is the extra natural supplement ok???

  • Hey I’m trying to get some nice legs so I’m doing squats. But all I wanna know is am I supposed to have a sore lower back or am I doing something wrong. I’ve pulled my back once before and I’m not trying to again so someone please help!����

  • Very good lesson thanks.
    I was told by someone that you have to keep your feet forward (as opposed to having your feet vertical with your body), so as you squat down, your leg is inclined. Isn’t that also a mistake?

  • I love the video but along with pushing through heels I’d also suggest considering imagining 4 points on your feet and pushing through all four. 2 points on heels and 2 points on the front of the foot before the toes. You will increase your stability and improve your form this way.

  • I think you just helped me learn to love squats?!!!! I’ve dreaded squat for years because I’m 5’11 and have always felt like I’m doing squats incorrectly because my knees go a little past my toes sometimes. I paused the video and practiced the taking it slow and hinging at the hips tips you gave us and GIIIRRLLLLL (Idk if I can call you BEEECCCHHH, yet), but THANK YOUUU!!!!! From me and the booty I will now some day have thanks to you!!! ������

  • Hey @BuffDudes have yall considered pushing through the middle of the foot (using both heel and toe) instead? I have trouble with falling backwards when using exclusively the heel, and pushing thru the midfoot just works so much better for me. Thanks!

  • Thank you! Thank you for this video on how to do squats! I have Patella Femoral Pain Dysfunction in both my knees and yes I thought and ALWAYS think about my knees with workouts, which made me fear to do any form of workout but I bore three babies and momma needs to be active and back into a more active lifestyle. I know this will definitely help now that you explained how to properly do a squat! I think I am binge watching between you and Voddie Baucham and his sermons on YouTube lol thank you again for all your information and giving such positivity through all your workouts!

  • Omgoodness I just wanna squeeze (hug) that gorgeous son of yours! Soo adorable and I’m a new, (very happy to hve found you) fan! You are awesome luv!!! ����

  • Women should leg press on machines where they don’t have to load weights. They should NEVER be lifting heavy weights with their hands and shoulders.. They should NEVER be doing heavy weight that works their back.. Ladies.. Where you feel sore is going to get bigger. I doubt you want a thick back.. You probably want to keep a small waist while you grow your butt. You should only feel sore in your butt or you are doing it wrong.

  • I have a question. I naturally have a round big firm butt and started to do butt exercises because I want it to look even better. What happens to your butt if you stopped doing the exercises?? Will it be smaller compared to what it was or not? Please answer thank you!!

  • Recently discovered your channel and i am hooked. Could you please do a video on quick warm-up for the entire body?
    Also, could you please tell me what exactly it means to keep the core engaged? How can i do that?