Squats 101 – Everything You Need To Know
This relatively simply, although challenging, exercise can be performed anywhere, at anytime. Squats do not require any fancy equipment or specialty training – they’re a fuss free exercise that anyone can try. In fact squats are one of the best exercises for you as they help strengthen and grow muscle.
Why should we be doing squats?
Adding squats to your exercise routine definitely has its advantages.
-improve leg strength and muscle growth (just so you know – the main muscles you’re working during a squat are the quadriceps and glutes, in addition to these you are also working your hamstrings, calves and your lower back)
-promote mobility and balance
-improve your overall strength and athletic ability. Think about it – if squatting helps athletes run faster and jump higher then why wouldn’t it help us in our everyday lives – running after an excitable toddler or racing to work after sleeping through your alarm? – squats will get you there faster
-tone and tighten your bottom, abs and of course your legs
How to achieve the perfect squat –
1. Stand up straight with your feet flat on the ground, shoulder width apart.
2. With a straight back, lower your body into a sitting ‘on the toilet’ position by bending your knees, centered, over your feet. Pause, holding the position.
3. Slowly push yourself up, returning to the starting position and repeat.
And why is good technique so important? Good technique isn’t just important; it’s crucial! When performing a squat you will need to focus on your technique to avoid a back injury. Your spine should maintain its natural curvature and not ‘round out’. ‘Rounding’ your back will apply excess strain to your spine and may cause an injury.
Mixing it up!
There are lots of ways to adapt your squats to keep challenging yourself and pushing further to your full potential. You can take your squats to the next level by occupying your hands with a set of dumbbells, or what about a kettlebell, you could even use a resistance band or even a barbell. This added weight or resistance will increase the level of difficulty of your squat and ultimately produce a better workout – more weight equals more strength.
As always, ensure you take care of yourself, perform a squat in front of the mirror or get a friend to take a video or photo of you doing a squat to ensure your technique is correct and you’re not at risk of an injury.