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Weightlifting form for cyclists: How to properly do a squat

The squat is a great exercise for cyclists — even if you don't have access to a gym and you just use body weight. Here's how.

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The squat is an important movement that I believe all people should perform, but it is especially helpful for cyclists as it activates the hamstrings, the glutes, and the core, which all play a large part in cycling.

Squats also are very important in helping to reduce the risk of knee and ankle injury and in helping build stronger bones including a stronger spine.

When done in high repetition, they also are a great cardio movement that burns fat.

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How to get started

First, start without any weight at all. Just use your body weight. You could do 100 “air squats” a day, broke into five sets of 20 reps. Then progress to adding a barbell. Then after time, add weight.

Nine tips for good squatting form

  1. Start with feet hip width or more apart
  2. Weight spread equally across the feet, not on the toes or heels
  3. Create a slight pelvis shelf to align the spine for optimal strength. On an exhale, pull belly button toward the spine, activating the core muscles and stabilizing the spine
  4. Drive the hips back like you are sitting down, as you press your knees slightly open while pushing through the pinky toes and big toes
  5. Keep the chest lifted and the shoulders back
  6. Continue to drive the hips back and the knees open until you reach parallel or knees at about 90 degrees
  7. Don’t allow the knees to go over toes, and press the knees open as if pushing against a resistance band. Do not let your knees cave in
  8. Press straight up through your feet and pelvis area
  9. Keep your scapula aligned with your midfoot