Solving Squat Problems: Setting Up Correctly
One of the keys to good squatting form is setting up correctly.
Before positioning yourself underneath the bar, make certain the bar is properly balanced on your shoulders by placing your hands evenly on the bar. A hand spacing that is slightly wider than shoulder-width is usually the most effective and comfortable. Use the markings on the bar for reference.
Move directly under the bar so that it is resting on your upper trapezius and positioned directly under your feet. Arch your lower back and keep it tight. Although the optimal foot stance varies with the individual, generally your feet should be shoulder-width apart with your toes rotated slightly outward (about five degrees).
Now rotate your elbows under the bar, lift your chest, and look straight ahead. Slowly start applying tension to the bar and then remove the bar from the supports by standing up. You do not want to lean forward and then lift the bar off the supports (as if you were performing the finish of a good morning). This method, even when used with light weights, can easily injure your lower back.
Rather than taking several normal steps to clear yourself of the rack, take a few small, slow shuffle steps to minimize the movement of the bar. If you are squatting inside a power rack, you must position yourself so that you will not hit the bar with the uprights as you squat.
When you finish your repetitions, take several small, slow shuffle steps until the bar is again directly under the supports. Now just squat down until the bar rests on the supports – again, do not lean forward.
Many injuries in squatting occur when lifting the bar off the supports or returning them to the supports. Following these guidelines to squat safely.