Squats are one of the single best exercises that almost anybody can do to achieve a plethora of health and fitness goals. Some of the benefits of performing squats include increased strength and size of your lower body muscles, increased flexibility and mobility, improved athleticism, greater core strength, a reduced chance of injury, and increased release of muscle-building hormones.
Here is how you perform a squat:
- Stand tall, with your feet a few inches wider than shoulder width, with your glutes clenched.
- Begin your descent by sitting back with your butt and opening up your knees.
- Continue forcing your knees out and your butt back as you descend until the crease of your hip goes below the top of your knee.
- Reverse direction upwards by flexing your glutes forcefully and continuing to push your knees out.
- Throughout the entirety of the movement, you should be flexing your abs, as well as keeping your back neutral.
While there are numerous benefits from doing squats, doing them incorrectly can be one of the easiest ways to injure yourself. This is why it is vitally important that you perform squats with form as perfect as possible.
Some common mistakes to watch for:
- Don’t sacrifice form for weight. Don’t squat above parallel. Start with your body weight.
- Don’t let your heels come off the ground. This happens when you bend your knees and not your hips. Your weight shifts forward onto your toes, leading to excessive stress being placed on your knees. Keep your weight on the middle of your foot.
- Don’t let your back round or arch too much. Keep it neutral by flexing your abs and glutes.
- Don’t let your knees cave in. Stay focused and keep pushing them out.
Squat variations of all kinds exist for people with different needs, physical limitations, or levels of experience. Find the squat variation appropriate for you, get to squatting, and experience the numerous health, posture, and physique benefits.