How to do a perfect squat – and the common mistakes which can result in injury

Squats are one of the most effective exercises we can do.

They work several muscles at the same time, and as well as toning and keeping us fit they can also help ease back pain.

And the best thing is you don’t need an expensive gym or fancy equipment – and you can just do them in front of your favourite TV soap whenever you feel like it.

But done wrong, they can do a lot of harm – so it’s very important to make sure you’re getting it right.

We’ve spoken to Dr David Brown (DC) from ProBack to find out exactly how to do the perfect squat.

He said: "A squat uses pretty much every major muscle group in the body. It’s one of the most important exercises that we have."

According to David, there are two main things to focus on to – the tilt of your pelvis and the position of your knees.

The best way to check if you’re doing everything correctly is to squat in front of a mirror so you can really see the position you are in.

Watch an example of the perfect squat in the video above.

Pelvic tilt

Most of us are guilty of standing in one of two incorrect positions during a squat.

The anterior tilt is most common, especially in women who have given birth, and is when the pelvis tips forwards.

It will make your spine look like an exaggerated curve when you are squatting.

If you find yourself doing this you need to retrain yourself to control your pelvis, which you can do by contracting your deep pelvic muscles.

The other harmful position is posterior tilt, but this is much less common.

You’ll notice a rounded back when you squat if you’re doing this.

It’s the more worrying out of the two, and can be a sign that you’ve already injured yourself so it’s worth getting it checked out.

Knee buckling

Try doing a squat facing straight towards the mirror and look at what your knees do.

If your knees buckle inwards, you have weak glute muscles and you shouldn’t be doing squats as you could injury yourself.

You need to strengthen those muscles before it’s safe to do the exercise, and you can do this by doing glute bridges.

How to do a glute bridge:

Hold for five seconds to return to the starting position and repeat.

Other tips for achieving the perfect squat

  • Keep your chin up
  • Keep your shoulders back
  • Drive your heels into the floor
  • Engage all your core muscles

Should it hurt?

Like any good exercise, a squat is going to hurt a bit.

But there are a few things to look out for which can be worrying signs.

Dr Brown said: "If anything pinches you need to stop straight away and contact your local chiropractor."

With any other aches and pains, you can tell if it’s serious by how long it lasts.

He said: "Mild pain on activity is okay as long as it resolved as soon as you’re finished."

If you have pain after you finish but it goes within half an hour, chances are you’re just doing the exercise wrong.

Watch the example above to check you’re getting everything right.

However, if that pain doesn’t go away it could be something more worrying.

Dr Brown said: "Anything longer than 30 minutes could suggest an underlying issue and you should contact your local chiropractor."

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