by: Sean Masters CPT, CES, PES; Director of Rehab and Co-Founder
Most athletes have heard at some point that the squat is the “king of all exercises.”
I completely agree with it and I think it needs to be a staple exercise in everyone’s fitness program. However, it is becoming rare to see squats being performed at the gym, and when they are being performed, it’s even more rare to see them performed with good form.
I have heard women shy away from moderately weighted squats because the exercise can feel uncomfortable or they don't know if they are doing them right. Fellas, on the other hand, tend to skip ‘Squat Day’ at the gym because the mirror in their house probably doesn't go below the waist. Here's a doozy of an excuse that I've heard recently that I know you will love: “I don’t need to do Squats or work my Legs because I keep them strong walking up and down the stairs at home.” This is a common excuse from the guy I’m sure you have seen in the gym that looks like an upside-down triangle.
Squats are amazing - pure and simple. They are a great way to strengthen the legs, core, and especially the butt. BUT, only if they are done correctly. Doing them wrong, especially under load, not only undermines the intention of the exercise (to blast the glutes and develop a nice booty) but can also seriously increase your chance of injury.
If you workout without a trainer and are unsure if you are doing squats correctly, ask yourself this, “Where am I sore after Squat Day?” If you are sore in your lower back or knees, or you only feel the exercise in your quads...then it is time to take a step back and get to work on improving the way you move!
Below are four of the most common movement breakdowns that will impede your ability to develop that booty you've always wanted. I have also attached two helpful exercises per breakdown to help you squat like a champ!
Let's get into it - here are 4 Tips To Improve Your Squat For A Sexier Booty:
1. Prevent Flat Feet
Squats require you to push up from the floor with your feet. If your feet are not in the right position during the push, it creates a power-leak that robs your body of the ability to do the exercise efficiently. Flat feet can also put excessive stress in the knees and hips. Give these two exercise a try before you put your feet up to the bar your next squat day.
Exercise 1. Half-Kneeling Ankle Mobility
Exercise 2. Tibialis Posterior Calf Raise
2. Prevent Knee Knocking
Knee knocking or Valgus collapse can be a symptom of the flat feet breakdown that is described above. Additionally, shortness or over-activation of the adductors, hip flexors, tight ankles, and weak glutes can also drive the knees inward during the exercise. Perform these exercises before setting up under the bar next time.
Exercise 1. Tactical Frog Mobility
Exercise 2. Banded Squats
3. Avoid Rounded Lower Back
This is one of the scariest breakdowns that I see far too often with squats. Partial lumbar flexion during a non-weighted deep squat is a natural motion, but when external resistance is added to the equation, it is much safer and efficient for the athlete to keep the lower back neutral through the full range of motion. That may require some of you guys to reduce your range of motion (temporarily), but priming the body with the exercises below will be a great resource for you to improve your mechanics and make those glutes sore!
Exercise 1. Half Kneeling Dynamic Adductor Mobility
Exercise 2. Dowel Squats
4. Manage Mid-Back and Shoulder Tightness
How do you know if you have mid-back and shoulder tightness? Next time you lift the bar off the rack during a Back Squat, take a look at your elbow position. Are your elbows pointed straight down towards the floor or pointed behind you? If it is the latter, you have some work to do. Mid-back, or Thoracic Mobility, has a direct correlation with how mobile your shoulders are and also plays a role in your lower back’s ability to stay relatively neutral through the full range of motion.
Here are some great exercises to try to help get your Thoracic Spine and shoulders to move so you can GROOVE better and perform more effective squats!
Exercise 1. Bench Dowel Extensions