Squats: Six Common Errors People Make

Squats are an exercise that often forms part of workouts like CrossFit and calisthenics. They provide a work out for the entire body, with the primary focus points being the quads, the glutes, and the abs.
Squats: Six Common Errors People Make

Last update: 15 October, 2018

Making mistakes while doing squats not only makes the exercise less effective, but it also puts the body at risk of injury. For this reason, this article offers a look at six mistakes people make when doing squats and how to correct them.

Over the years, different types of squats have developed, including the sump squat, the jump squat, the pistol squat, and the Bulgarian split squat, among many others. Squats improve your posture, burn calories, improve circulation, and promote muscle growth.

In order to enjoy all the benefits of squats, you need to perform them correctly. Sometimes, we unconsciously do an exercise in the wrong way, and this needs to be fixed as soon as possible, so that it doesn’t affect muscle memory. So, pay attention and avoid these six errors when you’re doing squats!

1. Failing to align your knees during squats

At first glance, doing squats seems simple enough. However, this exercise has its own methodology. When bending your knees to perform the squat, you need to move as though you were sitting down on a low chair.

If your knees protrude out past your feet while you’re bending, then you’re not doing it the right way. This can cause damage to your knee ligaments. In order to avoid this error, make sure that your knees are aligned with your toes. Also, your calves should be at a 90 degree angle.

Woman doing squats

2. Lifting your heels

When performing the squat, the soles of your feet should be fully on the floor. If you lift your heels off the ground (even a little), this affects the integrity of the knees and lower back (it can cause lumbalgia). It also reflects a lack of stability and balance. For this reason, you need to find your center. In order to do this, you have to concentrate on maintaining the correct posture.

3. Bending your spine

Focusing too much on your legs can lead to neglecting other important aspects of the technique, such as the back and the neck. Bending your spine when returning to the squats, reflects an incorrect focus of energy. In other words, you’re focusing your strength on the wrong area. If you bend your spine, you’re not working your abdominals or on improving your posture. As such, don’t look down – look forward. You may find it helpful to hold a ball against your chest to keep your back straight.

4. Not doing the full squat

This may sound irrelevant, but it really does compromise a good part of the exercise’s effectiveness. When doing squats, the aim is to get as low down as possible. If you don’t do this then the exercise has no effect. The lower you get, the more your work out the thighs and the glutes, getting better results in the process.

Woman doing squats in park
This kind of exercise gives each muscle a deep workout.

5. Feet too close together or too far apart

The little details matter. If your feet are too close together, you won’t allow for the hips and the torso to maintain the stability needed to do the squat. If your feet are too far apart, it will throw off your balance. The ideal technique is to keep your feet hip-width apart.

6. Not pushing yourself

This is a fairly significant mistake. If you don’t push yourself and keep a consistent rhythm, you won’t see the results you expect. For this reason, try to take your time when doing this exercise. If you do it too quickly, you’ll neglect the proper technique, and you won’t push your muscles to their limit. So make an effort to do squats as correctly as possible.

Remember to warm up properly before doing squats, and to stretch afterward. Be consistent and you’ll start to see changes in your legs, glutes, and abdomen. If possible, compliment this exercise with some cardio work. Your reward will be a knockout body!

At first, doing squats can be exhausting, but the results make up for it. As you perfect your technique, you can add other kinds of squats, or even use weights. The mistakes mentioned above are more common than you think. You should take note of them so as to avoid risking injury.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.