What are the five biggest squat mistakes made by intermediate lifters?
1. Form. Don’t let the knees shoot forward like
you are trying to do some form of breakdancing or some twisted sissy
squat. Most of the time, a lifter’s shin to knee will not be perfectly
perpendicular. However, you still need to sit your ass back, get depth,
and don’t let your knees fall way out over your toes. Sit back and
imagine that you’re sitting into a chair, then start to flair your knees
as hard as you can and arch your back with your head UP. Continue to do
all this as you wait on your up call.
2. Wide Squats. Squatting too damn wide kills
power, inhibits ability to hit depth and leaves you with zero stability.
Nobody else on the planet is Chuck V, as he’s one of the best squatters
that has and will ever come into the game. With that said, he is built
to squat super wide. Chances are…you are not. I like people to start out
at a medium wide stance, then go from there. In most cases, they won’t
need to go too much wider. Of course, this still depends on many
factors, such as build, height, leverages, etc.
3. High Squats. Don’t chop everything in
training three inches high because you won’t be able to get down in the
meet and you’ll wonder what the hell is going on. Now, I understand that
everyone has trouble with the lighter weight, but once you reach 75%,
you should be able to hit depth, or at least parallel.
4. Looking Down. Don’t glance or stare at the
ground while unracking of the weight, or during any part of the squat.
Many people have their own opinions. I personally, look up. Almost
toward the ceiling, but more so where the wall would meet the ceiling in
front of me. When a squat starts to slow midway-up, I really drive my
head up, and push my heels through the ground. A lot of time when the
bar slows down, it has a tendency to roll up your back and make you get
on your toes. This can cost you a squat that you could have easily
5. Jell-O Unracks. Get tight before you unrack a
big weight. Pay attention to where you are lined up on the bar and your
foot placement. Don’t just slam the bar out of the rack because then
you’ll either shake all over the place, get on your toes, fall on your
heels or drop your chin. You have to make sure to apply some pressure
(about 20%) to the bar BEFORE you unrack it. This goes for a walkout or
monolift. I like to push into the bar as I’m setting up and do a mental
check of body tightness. Once I have concluded that everything is in
place, I will then apply the other 80% and forcefully, but under control
– rip the bar out of the racks with an arched back and heels pushed
through the ground.