THE SQUAT: VARIATION GUIDE
Squats are great, we can do them anywhere in multiple ways, in this guide we will cover a bunch of variations that we use which allow you to balance your body and squat using different equipment.
We cover many types of squats, from weighted ones to goblet squats to jumping squats, there are benefits of doing the variations as well as keeping things interesting.
Good squat form allows for the exercise to be fully effective, as well as preventing injury. Consistent bad technique can become a habit and reinforce poor movement patterns which can wear joints, ligaments and muscles in a way which can cause injury.
At Witterings Fitness we focus on technique first, then once we can consistently do that technique, we can increase intensity (speed or weight). Light weights are used when learning so we can master the basics, no need to go too heavy too soon. Not being able to anything because of injury is far worse than lifting a weight too light, having said that it is good to be able to push yourself. Getting a good coach is a great way of knowing if you are pushing yourself enough without risking injury.
COMMON SQUAT FAULTS
A common fault during the squat is a knee collapse. This is where the knees cave inwards during a squat as the individual is unable to maintain stability and control. This can lead to harmful forces to the knee joint as well as being mechanically inefficient.
Another common technique issue we see includes a 'loss of midline' that is the spine becoming unstable. This could be an exaggerated arch or rounding of the spine during the movement, which is not a biomechanically friendly position to squat in. Injury is often caused due to the inability to be able brace effectively and stabilise the spine placing stress in places which are not 'designed' to be stressed.
Confidently completing bodyweight squats can help perfect your technique with minimal weight or pressure on the spine.
To learn more about how to squat and take a deeper dive into the technique check out this blog and our YouTube video series.
DUMBBELL/KETTLEBELL FRONT SQUAT
The Dumbbell/Kettlebell front squat is a great start adding resistance to your squats for more intensity.
The benefits of using Dumbbells or Kettlebells are that you will be able to load up without having to worry about the flexibility issues involved in a barbell, it is also great to be able to do this at home where you may have limited equipment.
THE GOBLET SQUAT
Goblet squats are an excellent way to work your lower body, increase core activation and are particularly great when you have limited weights, you can use a kettlebell as shown in the pictures, or a dumbell or any other weight such as a heavy bag.
Keep your weight close to your chest, this helps with posture and maintain stability.
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
A Bulgarian split squat can be done with or without weights, this is a tricky one so we would recommend starting without a weight.
Again you can use any weight when building up resistance here, single arm variations could also be done to improve imbalances or to just make things harder!
SINGLE LEG PISTOL SQUATS
Single leg squats (also know as pistol squats) help improve balance and stability more than a regular squat if you can do pistol squats then you are winning at life and it is unlikely you have any significant imbalances you need to deal with.
Being able to complete multiple single leg pistol squats is also a good standard most athletes should strive to achieve, this shows you that you have good balance, strength and stability in your lower body.
This exercise can be done in a variations of ways depending on your preference or balance.
Keeping the other foot raised can help with the intensity.
Aim to squat below your knee if you can but start by completing box squats, below the knee is an advanced movement. It is also possible to load up with some weights on this movement, which actually helps some people with the balance.
Jumping squats are a great exercise for improving power.
They are fairly advanced and also get your cardio going and if you can complete them confidently and safely could be used in a High Intensity Interval Workout.
Knowing your squat options are great for mixing up your workouts, making use of what little equipment your might have available and keeping your body resilient. We need to squat to perform multiple movements which 'real life' requires, be it popping onto a surfboard or kneeling down to do your gardening or even just sitting down into a chair. The squat is an essential everyday movement, so practice it well and learn how to do it properly, your knees and back will thank you!
If you would like one of our expertly trained coaches to help you out with improving your squat technique, please feel free to get in touch with us or book your consultation directly into our diary.
We love talking squats!
Thanks for reading if you would like to book in a consultation with either Coach Hayden or Ben click on our faces below!
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