Squats – Proper Execution is Crucial
One of the best exercises for a fitter, stronger body is the squat. But squats only work if you do them correctly. Doing squats properly is essential to reaping the benefits they have to offer. Squats are a favorite among powerlifters, bodybuilders and other athletes for very good reason. They work. They help you tone, build a strong lower body, and bring a number of other benefits including improved flexibility, increased hormone release, and more. If squats aren’t a staple of your weekly routine, they should be. Once you start doing them, you’ll realize why squats are known as the “king of all exercises!”
Adding Squats to Your Workout?
Doing aquats properly can be difficult without sufficient experience. However, rest assured, you’ll get better in time. If you don’t feel a serious burn, you aren’t doing a real squat. To squat, first stand with your your feet a tad wider than shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms out straight so that they are parallel to the ground, with your palms facing down. Then start to squat down, unlocking your hips and bringing them back slightly. Make sure your back stays straight and that your chest and shoulders stay upright. Crouch as low as you can. Then come up suddenly, driving yourself through your heels.
Variants of the Squat
You can incorporate squats into virtually any workout. There dozens upon dozens of variations of squats, both weighted and free versions. Use them to get a killer lower body workout. For best results, incorporate squats (whatever variety works best for you) into your exercise routine 2-3 times per week. To spice things up, try these unique squat types:
- Goblet Squat – Normal squat done while holding a kettlebell, dumbbell, or medicine ball at your sternum (the center of your chest).
- Back Squat – These are done with a barbell. If you have never used a barbell before, be sure to ask help from an experienced friend or your local gym trainer first.
- Front Squat – These are also done with a barbell, but the barbell rests in a front rack position instead of on the traps. Again, consult someone with experience before attempting this type of squat.
Common Mistakes in Performing Squats
Squats are easy to do but hard to master. You’ll find that as you get better at squatting techniques that squats get harder, not easier. Why? As soon as you’re using proper form, you’ll realize just how difficult squats really are. Spot yourself and keep an eye out for the following mistakes:
- Not dropping down low enough – If you aren’t dropping low enough, try taking a slightly wider stance. You'll get the most out of squats if you squat at least to the parallel position or deeper.
- Knees drifting inward – To fix this, turn your toes out between 5 and 20 degrees. Your knees should be in line with both your ankles and your hips.
- Body leaning too far forward – If you have this issue, try shifting your weight to your heels when lowering into your squat.
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