Just like anything in life, one good or bad event can lead to several other good or bad events down the line. Today I’d like to share with you a dangerous chain of events that can come from not having proper alignment or movement while you are strength training in the gym.
Most strength training exercises such as squats will be repeated for up to 30 repetitions! Now, if you are not in proper alignment and don’t perform this movement correctly, then you have just worsened an already poor movement. The chain of events for a poorly performed squat include grinding of the knee, strain on the low back muscles and compression of the vertebrae. This can lead to serious injury or even worse, chronic pain.
It would be like spelling “movement” wrong 30 different times in this article. This article would look poorly written even if there were some good things written. So you may think “At least I’m in the gym and actually doing something”. Well, your wrong. If you aren’t doing it correctly then you’re doing more harm then good for your body. So pay attention to your form in the gym! Take 10 minutes a day to stretch and foam roll to help keep your body in the best alignment possible.
As one of my favorite mentors said to me a long time ago, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything”.
Since I love this exercise and find it highly valuable for your lower body strength, here is a brief description of how to do a regular squat and a video on my 1-minute squat challenge. You can do squats anywhere, even while brushing your teeth!
Since we’re all in bikini countdown mode, you might want to integrate a few sets of squats in your program. Here’s a primer on how exactly to do the perfect squat.
1. Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance.
3. Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
4. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
5. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
Start with three sets of 10 squats, and then add more reps (12, 15) as you get used to the motion. It’s definitely awkward at first, so don’t expect to master the squat right away. Focus on your form, and then worry about adding reps.
Here is a demo of a standard squat using good form, test to see how many you can do in one minute! Keep good form and slow down if you begin to hunch forward or come off your heels.