Techniques to improve your ankle flexibility for effective squats

ankle flexibility for squatsAn important part of maintaining effective balance during the squat, and ensuring that your knees track outwards, is working on your overall ankle flexibility. Your shin needs to be able to move forwards slightly (roughly the length of a foot), and sideways (that is, outwards), in order to push the knees out far enough to give you space to squat down into. This ankle movement creates what we call a “diagonal shin” – as the shin moves out diagonally from the heel. How much your shin travels outwards will depend on how wide your stance is, as the closer the stance, the wider the knees need to move relative to the feet – but however far you need to travel, the main problem to tackle will be tightness in the calf muscles. Continue reading

How to maintain your balance during the squat

squat balanceA YouTube fan recently told us she had a problem squatting down to parallel. She could only get about half way down before it felt like she was stuck and it would be impossible to get any lower without falling over backwards.

There are a host of issues which contribute to this problem: they can arise from difficulties in technique, strength or flexibility. This means there is no one answer to this question – but we can offer a range of solutions. Continue reading

How to keep those “knees out” for good during the squat

knees out squatRegular readers of the site will have seen how often we stress the importance of keeping the knees outside the feet during squatting movements. This article will give you tips to ensure you always keep your knees out and avoid the dreaded problem of knees caving in.

You gotta have sole

The rubber soles on your training shoes are a secret weapon that help you keep the knees outside the feet at all points during your squats. Continue reading

Effective progression with weighted squats

personal training regime for weighted squatsOur previous post emphasised the importance of reflecting on your exercises using sissy squats as an example. To reach our final stages of progression in overcoming patella maltracking, it is essential to employ the same mentality to weighted squats. Like with the sissy squats, we will try to stick to low rep sets (around 5 reps), to allow more sets and more time for reflecting on technique. There is a lot more to think of with regular squats, so this brief guide will help structure your overall progression: Continue reading

Introducing a weighted bar for the best squat form

weighted squats, how to hold a barWhen you graduate from unweighted squats, or simple broom squat practice, to using a bar, the added weight and equipment involved can lead to confusion. This brief introduction will highlight the most important details of the exercise that you should always keep in mind. It may seem like there is a lot to remember, but don’t lose hope. Though it can take years to truly master squats, mastery of weighted squats is, effectively, mastery of your whole body, and the ultimate basis for conquering all your future knee problems. Continue reading