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Bad Squat Technique – The Knock-Kneed Squatter

Squatting can be a difficult exercise for new lifters to get the hang of, especially if you have knee problems or weak stabilizing muscles. 

The great thing is, the squat is perhaps one of the best muscle and strength building exercises out there, so there are many explanations of proper technique.

This is why it is such a shame when people do not know the proper way to perform it – there is so much information about it! 

Fortunately, this article will discuss the proper form for the barbell squat and how to avoid one of the most common mistakes – bring your knees inward during the lift. So read on to learn how to improve your squat technique!

To squat correctly, you need to first understand that the bar should move in a linear fashion under control. You should never be swaying back and forth or rolling the bar higher or lower on your back during the lift. To start, you should load the bar with an appropriate amount of weight (especially if you are new to lifting or haven’t quite got the technique yet).

I cannot stress this enough! Loading the bar with too much weight while using poor form is a recipe for disaster. Ideally, you should be practicing with just the bar to learn proper form – don’t be afraid to do this!

Once you have the weight on, you’ll want to place your hands approximately shoulder width apart on the bar. Swing underneath the bar and place it on your traps or upper back. The bar placement will differ between individuals, and it is largely a matter of comfort.

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Slowly unrack the weight and back up into the squat rack. Now, to avoid moving the bar back and forth while you lower the weight it is critical that you keep your abdominals tight and your lower back as straight as possible.

Leaning back on your heels and sticking your butt out as far as possible before you lower the weight is a great way to encourage your knees to stay in line. Doing this will also ensure that your chest stays upright and your abdominals are tight throughout the lift. 

Bowing your knees inwards can result in a loss of power as you lift the weight and also has the potential to cause serious weight lifting injuries. Lower the weight until your knees and hip joint are in a straight line. As you explode the weight upwards, keep your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps contracted. This contraction will help you keep your knees perpendicular and stop them from bowing inwards.

If you still find yourself bringing your knees inwards, I would suggest performing some isolation exercises for the muscles surrounding the knees. The following exercises are designed to strengthen your knees so that they stay perpendicular during the movement.

Try performing: the adductor and abductor machines, wide stance bodyweight squats, lunges, and balance board activities. You will probably find that increasing the strength of your stabilizing muscles around your knees will help keep your knees in line during the movement.

Hopefully this article has helped you correct your form and given you some ideas about how to keep your knees from bowing inwards. It is a challenging exercise so don’t get discouraged – just keep practicing!

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