Planning to tone up your body and exercise your muscles? If yes, then it is advisable to start with the leg muscles. To build muscles of the upper body, it is very essential to have a strong bottom, in order to support the weight of the muscles of your upper body. Squat is a powerful exercise to increase the strength of your legs, thighs and buttocks. However, with the myth doing the rounds of squat being dangerous to perform and risky, people, in general, are a little apprehensive to perform the exercise. Nonetheless, one should understand that every exercise can turn out to be risky, if not performed accurately. Squat exercises, too, can surely provide the desired results, if performed well, keeping in mind the proper techniques. There are numerous ways to perform squat exercises. This article provides you with certain techniques on how to do squats with free weights.
Free Weight Squats Technique
Using A Weight Bar
- The bar with the weights should be placed across the shoulder blades and not over your neck. It is better to stand with feet shoulder width wide, keeping your eyes straight forward.
- For the load to disperse equally through all the joints and to avoid overstressing of the muscles; there should be a simultaneous bending of the knee, hip and ankle joints.
- Make sure that while bending down the bar does not transcend forward or straight down. The weight should be evenly centered throughout the feet. The descent should feel natural and not forced. Maintain a neutral posture throughout by keeping the chest up.
- Your posture will determine the depth of your squat and any alteration to the curve of your spine may cause injury. It is, hence, advisable to stop your descent, before reaching the point where you feel an alteration in your spine.
- Once you reach your point of maximum descent, the upward movement should also be careful, without the weight getting transferred to your heels or toes. The weight should be in the centre, chest high to maintain the neutral posture.
- Continuous breathing, while squatting is very important. Breathe in while descending, hold your breath and then exhale while moving up through your mouth.
- Your body should be prepared for any kind of accident. The body should be braced throughout the bottom half of the descent and the first half of the ascent, especially.
- You can use a weight-lifting belt and take help of an experienced spotter to ensure proper form, balance and safety. The belt is designed to keep your back straight and alleviate spinal cord compression, while executing squats or power-lifting.
- Take two dumbbells and place it on shoulder keeping your eyes up, shoulders down and back and the tailbone tucked in slightly into neutral spine.
- To perform the squat, line up your shoulders, hips, knees and toes. The toes should be placed chest width wide.
- Bend down with the weights inhaling continuously. Your thighs should remain parallel to the floor, with the knees not bending further than the toes. Exhale while you move upward straightening your knees and returning to the starting position.
- Repetition of three sets should be made 12-15 times to maximize the free-weight squat routine.
- Side squat help in giving a more intensive exercise to the muscles. The exercise begins in the normal position of the free-weight squats. Slide your right leg out about 2 feet apart. Now, bend or squat down on your left leg, without stressing the knee further than your left toe. Repeat the same exercise on the other leg.
- Stand in a wide ballet position to get a more effective result. Align your toe with the knee, with the tip pointing slightly outward. Pick up a heavy dumbbell in both the hands and start dangling them between your legs like a pendulum. Simultaneously, bend down towards the floor with both your knees. While moving up to the starting position squeeze in your gluteus, keep your abs tight, eyes up straight and the tailbone tucked under.