Dara Singh Handa
My initial training started at a local gym back in 2006. The fees were a minuscule INR 600 for 3 months. Everybody at the gym only trained upper body. I hardly saw anyone doing squats or lower body workouts. I couldn't continue training properly due to 12th grade preparations and after that during my Engineering days as my hostel didn't have a gym. After completion, the gym I joined was one of the best in Nagpur. It still didn't have a squat rack. I was eager to learn how to squat. I used to manage on the bench press somehow. As a beginner, I was told that the back has to be straight while doing squats and I bend too much forward. Some said I have bad mobility that's why I cannot squat properly. I tried working on all the aspects. Still I used to lean forward tremendously. This made me unhappy but I could reduce the forward lean to an extent. With time, I started learning about the lifting sciences and watching various tutorials, I realised that everyone looked different when they squat. Some can go deeper with a straight back while some bend forward a lot. I understood that squat technique varies a lot from person to person based on their limb length, torso length, ankle mobility, hip mobility, core strength, position of the bar. I was in a deep turmoil and people confused me more. I know some of you will surely have similar issues. Here are few things to keep in mind. 1. There's no one ideal way to squat. People look different when they squat because of differences in biomechanics. This doesn't make one right and other wrong. Each Body tries to maintain the balance differently. 2. Keep you neck inline with your spine. Don't try to forced it up or down. If you spine is straight when you go down, you look forward. If you bend a bit, you look on the floor 4-10 feet away. Fix a point and keep looking there through the movement. 3. Keep your back nutreal and tight. As the bar is on the back, your chest will be out. However, don't fore it out unnecessarily. The back inclination will be decided by your biomechanics and your technique. 4. While you go down in a squat, you may want to spread you knees out keeping your toes out or you may want your toes to be straighter without flaring knees out. This depends on your hip flexor and glute tightness/weakness. Try both and see what works best for you. 5. You can keep the bar on your traps(High bar) or keep it rare delts(low bar). Both are correct. Some may even keep it in between these two positions. 6. If you do low bar squats you are going to lean forward to maintain the line of gravity. 7. Not everyone can do high bar squats with a straight back. You may still lean forward a bit. 8. Knees going infront of the toes while in the bottom position doesn't not damage your knee. Some people have the ankle mobility to easily way pass that. 9. A raised heel weightlifting/powerlilfting shoe may help people with limited ankle mobility to squat better.