The squat is an excellent lower body exercise that can be performed simply by using your own body weight, with dumbbells, barbells, supported on the wall with a stability ball, on a piece of equipment (Smith Machine, Hack Squat etc). The variations are endless. The squat works the quadriceps, gluteal muscles and hamstrings. While performing the squat, additional muscles support and stabilize the action, so your core muscles get to work as well.
Since “larger” muscles are involved, the “after-burn” effect of a squat is greater, meaning you body burns more fat even when at rest! So it is very important to incorporate a proper squat into your routine* (if you have knee problems, consult your doctor first to see if you are ready to progress to a squat*).
Here are some principles of a proper squat:
- feet are hip width distant apart
- lower yourself by sticking “out” the bum, as if to sit down
- lower yourself until thighs are parallel to the ground (or there about).all the weight is on the heels (you should be able to lift your toes)
- knees are stacked above the ankles NOT your toes!
- inhale on the lower, exhale as you rise up (always exhale at exertion)
- squeeze your glutes to further engage them as you come up
- hold your belly in and back straight
First master proper form and alignment without weights, then you can add resistance to challenge yourself even more!
They can be done anywhere and anytime…give them a try!