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Experts / August 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom

3 Common Squat Mistakes You Can Fix Today

Whether your workout class of choice is boot camp, HIIT or boxing, there is one movement that consistently shows up across the board: the squat.

It’s one of the basics and yet many have never properly learned the movement’s basics.

“The squat is such a well-known movement that you’ll always see people incorporating it into their gym routines,” says Reebok trainer and eight-time CrossFit Games competitor Stacie Tovar

“Because it’s this common, people just assume they know how to perform it, but in reality, many have probably never been taught.”

Until now. 

“When I coach,” says Tovar, who is the owner of CrossFit Omaha in Omaha, Neb., “I stress to the people in my classes that they should not add weight to the barbell for back squats or front squats until after they’ve mastered the air squat.

“The air squat needs to be the starting point,” she continues.

stacie-tovar-squat-correct

Looks simple, right? 

Tovar says think again, pointing out the air squat is deceivingly complex.

She adds, “Unless you have a coach there pointing it out, it can be difficult to recognize where you’re going wrong.”

After years of coaching, Tovar says there are three common squat mistakes that can be addressed immediately. 

1. Rising onto the toes

stacie-tovar-squat-on-toes

When squatting, feet should stay planted on the floor, but often, people find themselves rising up onto their toes.

“Think you’re doing that? Then, wiggle your toes,” says Tovar. “The moment you go to wiggle them, you will shift back into your heels. This is the correct stance.” 

2. Chest folding forward

stacie-tovar-squat-chest-caving

Folding one's chest forward while squatting is frequently a result of exhaustion. When a person becomes tired, it’s natural to revert to leaning. Correcting this lean is simple: Pull the chest up.

Tovar says the easiest way to avoid this mistake in the first place is to consciously think about pulling the chest up. “If you’re thinking about it, chances are you are doing it correctly,” she confirms. "Most of the time, people just forget to focus on it."

3. Knees caving in

stacie-tovar-squat-knees-in

If a person’s knees are caving in, the way to correct this is as obvious as one would think: Pull the knees apart.

“When pulling apart, keep in mind that the knees should stay in line with the toes,” says Tovar. “Make sure your knees never come outside of your toes. That will lead to just as many balance issues as when they were caving in.”

Did Tovar's corrections help you improve your squat? Tweet @Reebok to let us know.

Experts / August 2017
Maureen Quirk, Global Newsroom