Basics in learning how to squat
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Squat Technique
Squats are perhaps the most important exercise of all and also one of the most challenging both physically and mentally. No other exercise will challenge your body in the way that squats do and as such they should be the main focus of your strength training program.

Squats require serious concentration and an almost superhuman physical and mental effort. Squats are the most technically demanding of all exercises and require a great deal of practice before you can get them right. In this article we will show you how to squat correctly and with good form. Take your time to practice your squats as they are the most rewarding of all exercises. Squats are called the "king of exercises" for good reason.

Getting good at squats will have a positive effect on almost all of your lifts in the gym and will start packing on some serious slabs of muscle all over your body. The sheer physical effort needed to squat heavy weights causes your body to release testosterone and growth hormone, which will result in a growth effect for your entire body, not just your legs. If you are looking for serious muscle gains, the squat is your best friend. Squats are the single most effective leg exercise there is and this is true whether you are a powerlifter, bodybuilder, weightlifter or a sports player.

There are several variations of the basic squat technique such as the front squat, the Olympic squat and the overhead squat. Powerlifters tend to use a much, much wider stance than bodybuilders because it allows them to lift more weight.

At least one workout per week should be focused on developing your squat strength and technique. There are quite a few myths surround squats such as that they are bad for your knees or that they are dangerous, but these ideas are simply not true. Almost everyone can squat and like any other exercise injuries are caused by improper form and not the exercise itself. Squatting can actually strengthen the knees, tendons and connective tissues in the body and will do wonders for you overall physical wellbeing. Squatting can also be a great cardiovascular workout and anyone who has performed high rep squats with heavy weight will know exactly what I mean.

Squats primarily work the quadriceps but their effect is felt throughout the body.

How To Squat: Step By Step

Okay now let's get started by looking at the correct way to perform squats. For safety reasons you should always perform your squats in a squat rack. This means that if your legs give in and you stumble or fall then you have a set of safety pins to catch the bar for you. Set the safety bars to just below the depth to which you will be squatting.

Make sure you keep your head looking forward at all times and have your chest raised.

Position the bar on the squat rack at a height just lower than your shoulders. The bar should be positioned low, on the muscles of your back shoulders, resting comfortably across your trapezius. You might need to experiment slightly with the bar position so always use light weights to master your technique and then move on to heavier loads when you are more comfortable.

Grip the bar with your hands, with your feet squarely under the bar; lift it from the rack by pushing up with your legs.

Step back and position your feet at just slightly more than shoulder width apart.

Squat down slowly until your knees are parallel to the floor, making sure not to bounce at the bottom of the movement.

Whilst still looking forward, push up with your legs and return to the starting position making sure to keep your movements slow and controlled. Think carefully about how far down your descend and try and go down as low as possible. You should always practice full squats, where you descend all the way down rather than partial squats.

As with all exercises, learning to squat with correct form takes time and patience, but once mastered the squat will improve your strength, muscle mass and overall health.