Squats are one of the best leg exercises you can do. If you don’t regularly incorporate them into your weekly workouts, you’re missing out on a staple exercise for the lower body. They force you to use tons of stabilizing muscles in your back, butt, and core, and if done correctly your quads will scream for mercy.
Problem is, form can be really tricky – especially for newbies. If done incorrectly, because we’re placing so much weight on the squat that we can often place unhealthy strain on our backs or knees.
According to a new study in the journal Sports Biomechanics you can save undue stress on your knees by wrapping a resistance band around your lower thighs. This signals you to push your knees outward, which is healthier for your knees, and can prevent a possible ACL tear.
Jim Smith, C.S.C.S., & owner of Diesel Strength describes the motion as “Pushing your knees out creates more tension in your hamstrings and glutes”. It not only helps you to stabilize your knee, but also lift more weight because you’ll be distributing the weight more evenly across your hips.
Don’t have a band in hand? No problem. Here’s another tip to get your legs familiar with this proper form. Stand in the corner of a room with your back facing the corner, and feet touching the baseboards. Squat as deeply as you can, pushing your butt towards the corner while driving your knees along the wall. Do this regularly until you feel comfortable enough replicating the form on a squat machine with added weight.