One common problem with squatting performance is leaning forward excessively when coming out of the bottom position. This error is also associated with buckling of the knees.
Leaning forward places excessive stress on the lower back. Further, it takes the focus off of the quadriceps, which is one of the primary muscle groups that you want to develop with this lift. Here are six tips to help resolve the problem:
1. Lift your chest up. Some people have a hard time with the technique cue of keeping the back arched. Instead, focus on simply lifting the chest up.
2. Bring your elbows below the bar and keep them in that position throughout the lift, even try to push them forward slightly as you come up from the low position. Allowing your elbows to drift backwards makes it difficult to keep your chest up.
3. Look straight ahead or slightly up as you squat -- do not look upward at the ceiling. Maintaining eye contact on a single point will help position your head properly.
4. Keep your weight on the middle of your foot as you squat (lifting your toes for a second before you squat will help shift the weight backwards). Having your bodyweight on the balls of your feet may cause you to lean forward.
5. Drive hard with the legs as you come out of the bottom and try squeezing your glutes.
6. As you come out of the squat think about pushing your knees out – the goal is to have your knees in line with the long toes of the feet. A good cue is to try to spread the floor apart with your feet.
Not only will these tips reduce your risk of injury, but will ensure that you get the maximum leg development from this great exercise.