I don’t think there is a class in the universe that doesn’t include a squat in some shape or form. Yet many of my class participants and clients are apprehensive about this exercise, often feeling they are not executing it correctly. Well, if this blog were a bible, this would be the chapter and verse on squats!
Squats are the foundation for many other drills and variations meaning it is important to get your technique right. Technique is also a very important safety consideration as poor technique increases your risk of injury.
The focus of the squat is your lower body, whilst also building up your core and back strength by engaging your bodies largest muscles. This movement requires balance, support and traction, so always aim for quality of movement over quantity. The best place to try this out is in front of your bedroom mirror so you can see for yourself.
How To Squat:
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart
- Push your hips back and down as if going to sit on a chair
- Continue lowering down – “squatting” – so thighs are parallel to the ground
- Squeeze your butt and core as you come back up and return to standing
Considerations For Your Squat:
- Keep the weight in your heels (so you can wiggle your toes when down)
- Keep a flat back and your chest up
- Keep abs tight
- To increase the workload, add dumbbells and increase weight as appropriate
- To decrease the workload do not use dumbbells
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When you have nailed your basic squat you can mix things up a bit with different variations changing the focus slightly from pure strength to muscular endurance, or cardiovascular fitness. Examples include:
- Sumo squat: feet wider than shoulders, toes out
- Double pulse squat: 2 squats with narrow feet, jump out into 2 wide squats, repeat for 30 seconds
- Squat hold; in squat position hold for 10 to 30 seconds
- Squat jumps; in between each squat, jump into the air and land through your knees straight into a squat
- Squat with arm curls
The key when exercising is to listen to your body. Working out is not always comfortable, but it should cause you no pain!
P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP.