Teen Strength Training Tips: 4 Do’s and Don’ts of Squats

Teens, whether they’re athletes or simply looking to get fit on their own terms, have a lot of potential when it comes to strength training. One of the first places teens go to start building power is the squat rack, which makes sense since proper squats work over 200 separate muscles in your body. However, if young up and comers want to get the most out of this power lift there are some definite do’s and do not’s to keep in mind.

Teen Strength Training Tips For Squats

Squat Tip #1: DO Get A Full Range of Motion

It’s true that squats are a great exercise, and that they can build lower body strength, burn a lot of calories, and help develop explosive power… if you actually go all the way down. From a standing position you need to squat down as low as you can while still keeping your heels on the mat (ass to the grass, as some coaches will call it), and then returning to a standing position. If you’re just bending your knees a few inches and then standing straight again you aren’t going to get anywhere.

Squat Tip #2: DO NOT Bend Your Knees Inwards

If you’re doing squats and you find your knees bending inward when you go down you need to stop immediately and re-set your stance. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart (or a little wider) with your feet and knees either pointed directly forward or slightly outward. When you squat down your knees need to go in the direction of your toes, and if they’re pressing inward you’re on the fast-track to a serious joint and/or ligament injury.

Squat Tip #3: DO NOT Lift Your Heels Up

It’s a natural reaction when doing squats to lift your heels up and to put all of your weight on your toes. You need to fight against that reaction, and keep your heels flat on the mat. There are two reasons for this. The first is that it’s better for your balance to have your entire foot on the ground, but the second is that if you put your weight on the balls of your feet when you push up you’re putting unnecessary stress on your knees. By pushing up through your heels you’re activating more muscles that are supporting your knees, and thus doing safer squats.

Squat Tip #4: DO Keep Your Chest Up and Your Back Straight

smith machine squat

So you’ve got your position, your legs are ready to go, your weight is on your heels, and you start squatting down. This is where things have a potential to go wrong, because if you’re not careful you’ll roll your shoulders and hump your back. You need to take care to keep your shoulders back, and your chest up. If you do that your back will naturally stay straight, which will help you get the proper lift and avoid injury while you do it.

Strength training tips for teens

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Posted in Exercise, Workout by Jason Kozma | Comments Off on Teen Strength Training Tips: 4 Do’s and Don’ts of Squats

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