THE PERFECT SQUAT

You walk up to the squat rack, take a deep breathe, then another, and another and maybe even another, then you make sure your shoe laces are tied properly, what’s that? you need to refill your half full water bottle? Maybe your knees aren’t quite warmed up… Anything to delay the inevitable; you’re going to have to start your squats. Most of us have a love/hate relationship with squats, but we know how important they are. So, WHY are squats so great for us (and by “us” I mean everyone)? 1. First and foremost, squats are a compound exercise. Compound exercises involve more than one joint and muscle group at a time, which means you can work a greater amount of muscles simultaneously. 2. Squats work just about every muscle from head to toe and give you a high intensity workout, which has been proven to be the best way to burn fat and build muscle simultaneously. 3. Booty, everything is about the booty these days, and nothing works those glutes, at such a powerful level, quite like the squat. 4. Core. No amount of crunches will amount to the benefits squats provide for your core, especially when you are lifting heavier weights. You will especially notice this as you are coming up from a deep squat and you tighten your abs to help you get back up. 5. Squats are functional. Every time you sit down and get back up, crouch down to pick something up off the floor, you are effectively performing a version of a squat. By concentrating on squats in your workouts, it will help you with daily functional activities, yes, even sitting. 6. By completing a full range of motion in a squat, you are not only working on strength but also flexibility. 7. Squats will ultimately help you perform better in so many other exercises, especially when it comes to plyometric type exercises or HIIT workouts; think box jump. 8. Total body exercises, like squats, are great stimulators for muscle-building hormones. 9. Squats help with your basic bodily functions such as circulation and digestion. 10. Squats will make you sweat, sweat, sweat!!!! HOW DO WE DO THE PERFECT SQUAT? There are many versions of squats, from sumo to goblet, from wide stance to narrow, from barbell to kettle bells and more. But to do a standard squat, here are a few pointers. 1. Warm Up: Never start doing squats without warming up your knees. Start by gently mobilising the joint, feet together, knees slightly bent, rotate knees in a circle to the left and then to the right. Hop on a bike or elliptical, or gently jog on the spot if you don’t have access to equipment for at least 5 minutes. 2. Imitate: A great idea, before doing squats, is to rehearse the movement, with only your body weight, if you are going to be doing weighted squats. 3. Once your joints are nicely warmed up. Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart, toes forward and knees locked with your hips forward. 4. Place your hands behind your head or in a prayer position in front of your chest 5. Place your weight in the heels of your feet, not your toes. 6. Stick your bum right back like you are going to sit (you can even put a bench behind you to help you feel secure and to help you nail the technique). 7. Keep your back straight and face forward. 8. Engage your abs as you unlock your hips and knees and start to lower down. 9. Make sure your knees do not go over your toes. (there are certain advanced squats where you can, but don’t worry about that for now). 10. Lower down as far as you can go without rounding your back. Ideally you want to take your hips lower than your knees, but if you are just starting out, go as far as you can. 11. Making sure your abs are tight, lift yourself back up, driving the weight into your heels, to the starting position. 12. Repeat. ***The same movement applies even if you are holding a weight (either on your shoulders or in front of you). ***KEY POINTS: NO rounding your back. NO knees over toes. If your knees are going over your toes, you are probably not sticking your bum out far enough. If you are unsteady, place a chair behind you and as your bum reaches it, lift back up.

Have a look at this wall facing technique: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zVF0g_X-i-k

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