Squats are one of the most important exercises, as they target several key muscle groups including thighs, calves, back, abs, and arms.  However, they can be a bit intimidating because improper form can result in serious injury.  Don’t let this scare you away though!  Squats are one of the best exercises for you.
 
So how do you ensure you are maximizing your impact on the proper muscles, and minimizing your impact on your spine?
 
The key is keeping your spine in what we call a “neutral position.”  Despite your pose, your spine should technically be in the same alignment as when you are standing upright, with it’s natural arch.  Rounding your lower back can compress your spinal discs, so ensure your core is flexed and tight— thus protecting your lower back.  
 
One way to ensure that your lower back stays neutral is if you push your knees out.  Keep them to the side and in the same direction of your toes.  Your feet should be 30 degrees out and shoulder-width apart.  Perform the squat motion by bending your hips and knees simultaneously.  Keep your knees out, your hips back and do not arch your back.  Be careful about going all the way down— the lower your squat, the more likely it is that your back will round and that could lead to injury.
 
The benefits of performing squats are huge, and they are one of my favorite exercises.  Keeping your core tight will performing squats also helps key in your mental focus:  think about your form, keep your core tight, for the duration of the set.
 
Keep in mind that we are available for free consultations.  If you have any concerns over your own form, or if you’ve faced injuries in the past from poor form, reach out so that we can give pointers on how to maximize your efficiency during your workouts while minimizing your physical risk.