5 Biggest Squat Mistakes

1. Not assessing your hips for the proper squat stance.

This is the most important thing to do prior to squatting. Why? Because everyone has different hip anatomy. And the anatomy of your hips will dictate how you squat. Some people, regardless of how much mobility work they do, will always have to squat wider and with their toes out. Because that’s how their hips are formed. For a detailed blog post on this, check out Movement Fix’s post “Why people HAVE to squat differently.”

2. Not creating proper IAP.

This is a big one we see in our office. People “sucking in” their belly button towards their spine, compromising their spinal stability, rather than pressurizing their abdomen and stabilizing their spine through a diaphragmatic breathing and bracing strategy. IAP stands for intra-abdominal pressure– you want to increase IAP as much as possible to stabilize your spine. Sucking in your belly button towards your spine just won’t cut it.

3. Losing tension at the bottom.

This goes hand-in-hand with creating proper IAP. Maintain that IAP throughout the entire squat AND create tension in your entire body throughout the movement to further stabilize your shoulders, hips, and spine. Control the movement to the bottom. Don’t just let gravity pull you down uncontrollably, hoping you can just “bounce” out of the hole.

4. Not picking the right squat style for you.

What are your current goals? What are your current mobility limitations? Do you have any joint pain? Again, what does your hip anatomy look like? All of these factors (and many others) should affect which squat you should be doing and why. Choosing a squat style that isn’t the best for your anatomy (or for your current strength/joint capacity) may wind up doing more harm than good.

5. Not moving in unison.

A squat is a hip AND knee dominant movement. Both the hips and knees should move basically at the same time. Check out @steficohen’s “Visualizing the squat” for a great visual.

What to read next: 5 Best Squat Mobility Drills

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