Besides burpees, squats are one of my favourite exercises to include in strength training programs. The squat is a functional movement, requires no equipment, involves several major muscle groups and anyone is capable of completing at least one. (Even if the most advanced physical activity you have done was getting out of your La-Z-Boy chair during a Biggest Loser commercial break to make popcorn).
Sounds super right? While it’s a great addition to any strength training program, it does involve a little bit of practice. So here is your handy “how-to” guide for completing the perfect squat.
- Stick your bum out – you might feel silly but this is the most important factor in perfecting your squatting technique.
- Keeping your back straight, slowly squat down so that your knee joint forms a 90degree angle.
- Make sure your knees follow in line with your feet and that they are not passing your toes.
- In order to ensure your weight is centered properly place your weight back on your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes at all times. If you have your weight in your toes you are likely leaning too far forward.
- Squeeze your glutes and your hamstrings as you come back up to a standing position.
One tool I use to help my clients get their squats just right is a stability ball. Place the ball against the wall right around your mid-back. Squat down as you roll down the ball. The ball will ensure you are keeping your back straight with your weight in your heels. As this becomes more comfortable, try holding the ball in front of you with both hands. Again this will prevent you from leaning too far forward and will help keep your balance.
Once you master this and are a true squatting machine, you can make things a little more interesting by adding in weights, combining a squat with a shoulder press or a wall-ball throw, or turning it into a true test of your cardio endurance by adding a jump in between each perfectly executed squat. (In the fitness world these are called plyometrics). So squat away my friends, and look forward to perfectly toned little black dress legs by the holidays.