Strong thighs, lean calves, sturdy feet, powerful glutes. All beneficial outcomes of incorporating squats into your daily workout, but are you doing them right?
- Place your feet hip-width distance apart.
- Place hands on hips, or out in front of you for balance.
- Tighten your core muscles.
- Begin to bend your legs and lower down, keep your back straight, tucking the tailbone.
- Bend until your knees are in a straight line above your ankles.
- Stand up straight.
This is the correct way to do the most basic squat, but feel free to try different variations to target different muscles.
One option is to add weights to your hands, increasing the weight that your legs will take on.
Another option is to practice pistol squats, or one legged squats. If you are new to this, feel free to use TRX bands, the back of a stable chair, or a ledge for balance. Begin by planting one foot firmly into the ground, while lifting the other leg at a 90 degree angle in front of you, and slowly bend the standing leg, without allowing your knee to move too far forward over your ankle. Pistol squats increase the strength in one leg at a time, while working the hip flexor of the extended foot. They are wonderful for any knee pain you may be experiencing, if you do them correctly. Make sure to only bend as low as you feel comfortable without hyperextending the bent leg.
Here are a few proven benefits of the squat:
- Build muscle.
This is an obvious one, the more you squat, the stronger your muscles will be.
- Aid in mobility and balance.
Whether you choose one legged or two legged squats, you will simultaneously be working on your balance and mobility. Be sure to incorporate the core muscles in your practice for best results.
- Prevent injury.
Many repetitive workouts target specific muscles, while ignoring the tissue and ligaments surrounding them. Squats work to target these other facets of your body, thus making it a more thorough exercise that helps in preventing any unwanted side effects.
- Improves joint health.
By working on this load bearing exercise, you improve the strength of the joints surrounding your feet, ankles, knees and hips.
- Improves posture.
A direct result of practicing the squat is that you will see immediate improvements in your posture. Your legs and core will be stronger, so you will stand taller!
With Findagym.ca you can find the best gyms to practice regular or one-legged squats. Many of our partners throughout Montreal, Quebec, Toronto and Ontario, offer TRX classes, Functional Training, HIIT, and similar, all related to strengthening and improving your balance and stability!