We teamed up British Powerlifting Champion and former Hollyoaks actress, Jazmine Franks for National #FitnessDay to share some top tips on keeping active and staying safe while doing so.
Jazmine joined us in OnePT Rochdale to take us through her step by step guide on squatting safely and efficiently.
1. Warm Up (body weight squats or with an empty bar)
Warming up will gently prepare the body for the weighted squats ahead by gradually increasing the heart rate and blood circulation. This will, in turn, loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles.
2. Point your feet outwards
Squatting with your toes pointing out creates a mechanical advantage for the squat. Not only does it give us a slightly wider base of support, but it will not affect our pelvic control and mobility to the fullest extent.
3. Elevate your heels
Raised heels will decrease the range of motion at the hip and will improve the range of motion at the knee. This will help to engage more of the quads muscle fibers. When the heels are elevated, it forces the ball of the foot to make greater contact with the surface.
4. Keep your back straight
This is important especially if you are going to add weights to your squat because if your back rounds off in any way, pressure will be added on to your neck and spine. Puffing out your chest and keeping your shoulders in line will prevent injury and keep the bar moving in a straight line motion.
5. Use squat rack spotter arms
These are the adjustable bars found in a squat rack. You should secure these to sit around 1-2 inches below your squat fail point. A good way of finding this is to squat without any weight and see where you can take yourself down to the point your thighs are parallel to the floor. The rack spotter arms should be in place at all times so that any rep failure will result in bruises to your ego and not to your face.