How To Do A Squat

It is hard to find a better lower body exercise than the squat. In fact, it is so effective at building muscle, it has even been called “The King Of Exercises.” A common misconception is that the squat needs to be performed with a barbell and hundreds of pounds to be effective.

This is not the case at all. Bodyweight squats can be extremely effective part of your training regimen. This article is all about how to do a squat effectively, safely, and properly.

Muscles Worked By Doing Squats

Squats train the largest muscles of the lower body better than any other exercise you can do.

The main muscle groups trained by performing them are:

  • Quadriceps
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes

Putting all of these things together, it is safe and accurate to say that the squat works more muscle than any other single exercise you can do. If you aren’t doing them now, you need to be!

The Proper Way To Do Squats

The best visual representation of the proper way to do squats is to look at a baby. When they become toddlers, and they are walking around your house like crazy, they squat down all the time to pick things up.

When they squat, their back is straight, their knees do not extend over their toes, they squat deep (their butt goes past their knees), and it looks effortless.

This is what you should strive for in your squats. Prepare to squat like this:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, or just slightly more.
  • Toes should be facing forward, or turned slightly outward
  • Stand tall, look straight ahead, and pull your shoulders back

For beginners, it is recommended that you extend both arms in front of you for balance. As you become more advanced, you will be

Good Squat Technique

able to place your hands behind your head and interlock your fingers.

Now it is time to descend into your squat:

  • Begin by breaking at the hips, NOT the knees
  • Sit back, as if you were sitting into a chair
  • Squat as low as you can without allowing your knees to extend beyond your toes
  • Maintain good posture in your back
  • Return to the starting position smoothly

It is also recommended that you do not lock your knees at the top position. This will keep tension in the muscles of the legs, and give you a better workout.

Adding Variations And Keeping It Challenging

One of the best ways that you can tweek your squat routine is by varying your speed—both in the descent and the ascent.

For instance, you could lower yourself very slowly, perhaps to a 20 count, and then explode upward. Or, you could lower yourself very quickly, then ascend very slowly.

You could also do both as fast as possible.

There are a ton of different ways to make the exercise more challenging simply by changing the speed.

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