Beginner Body | How to Squat

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Squats are an amazing compound move that target the glutes, the quadriceps and the hamstrings. The wonderful thing about squats though is that they can be modified to target almost any lower body muscle helping to really tone, tighten and strengthen those legs. All that lowering and lifting even makes them a great cardio move too. All in all they’re a great addition to any routine and you absolutely need to be doing them, but only if you’re doing them right.

Improper form can cause knee pain and injury as well as lower back pain which will become more severe and serious over time and if you ever feel a stabbing sensation in any of your joints when performing an exercise, stop! As well as the health risks to a badly executed squat, performing the move with improper form will also make it much less effective meaning you’re putting in the work and not getting the results that you deserve. All in all, there are no benefits to a bad squat and a lot of downsides so it’s really important to do this one properly.

Basic Squat

  1. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and you weight in the back of your heels. This simply means shift your weight backwards slightly so that you can feel the heels of your feet pushing into the ground slightly. If you can wiggle your toes easily then your weight is definitely in heels. Your feet can either face forwards or if it is more comfortable they can point slightly outwards and this is my preferred stance.
  2. Push your bum out backwards and if you have a hinge at your waist. Imaging there is a wall a good few inches behind you and you’re trying to touch it using only your bum but keeping your legs completely straight. Your chest should now be lower than your original starting position but make sure it’s pointing forwards with your shoulders rolled back and your head up looking straight forward in front of you. All though your back should be leaning forward it should still be straight.
  3. Lower you bum down into a squat position and hold this for a few moments. You should lower down as if you are trying to sit on a chair behind you. At this point, because you have already hinged backwards, the chair seat would be directly below your bum. As you lower try to maintain the hinge position that you created in the step before, with your bum pushed back, your chest forward and your back straight.
  4. In your lowered position there are a few things you want to remember.
  • First your bum and hamstrings should now be parallel to the ground with your back remaining straight. If your back begins to round (so that there is no longer a straight line from your tail bone to the bottom of your neck but rather your tail bone is tucked under towards the ground) then do not go as low. This simply means you do not have the flexibility to go as low and trying to force this will lower back pain. Taking a wider stance will also allow you to go lower though this will target the inner thighs more and the glutes less.
  • Second your knee should not pass your toes as this will shift your weight forward putting a lot of pressure on your knees and leading to potential injury. Your shin should be a straight line going directly down from your knee to your toes and not  flared outwards.
  • Your weight should remain in the heels of your feet in order to protect your knees and target your glutes. At all points when completing a squat, standing, lowering and in the squat position, you should be able to wiggle your toes easily. If you cannot shift your weight back by pushing your bum out backwards.

5.To return to standing push down through your heels and rise up. You should try to   squeeze your bum as you come to the top still keeping your weight shifted back into your heels so that you are ready to squat again. Keep your knees in line and do not allow them to flare out or bow inwards. If you are using a weight and this occurs you need to lower the weight or drop it altogether as it is too heavy for you.

I hope you found these squat tips helpful and are well on your way to building the booty of your dreams! Check back next Tuesday for another Beginner Body post that will include a lower body workout using squats.

Let me know if there are any more moves you want a breakdown of. Happy squatting!

Thanks, Megan x

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