Squats are core ingredient to a full-body fitness.
They work the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and sneakily strengthen the core.
Squats also improve balance and coordinationâ€”not to mention, help maintain bone density (a must for women and older fitness fanatics).
At the gym, you might want to do squats with weights. But if you’re out for a run at the park, never fear. Bodyweight squats are very effective.
1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width, hips over knees, knees over ankles.
2. Roll the shoulders back and down. Don’t let the back round out, this stresses the lower back. Maintain a straight & neutral spine alignment throughout the squat.
3. Extend arms out straight, parallel with the ground, palms facing down.
4. Initiate the squat by inhaling, unlocking the hips and bringing them slightly back. Keep sending hips back as your knees bend.
5. When the butt starts to stick out, make sure your chest and shoulders stay upright, and your back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward, eyes gazing forward for straight for a neutral spine.
6. Good squats are deepâ€”if you can comfortably handle it. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees, if you feel flexible and strong enough.
7. Put bodyweight in the heels, engage your core, and explode back up to standing, driving through heels into the ground. You can visualize the feet are spreading the floor, without actually moving the feet.
Once you master the bodyweight squat, move on to using weights.