The ultimate lower body exercise that targets all of your leg and glute muscles, squats are irreplaceable when leg day comes around. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to do squats properly so here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow.
Squats activate your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, glutes, and even your lower back. All while strengthening your core. Talk about an all-in-one exercise! That’s why they’re also referred to as one of the four basic compound fitness movements as they utilize your whole body to lift the added weight.
They exist in a variety of different forms and can be combined with plenty of other exercises so you can use them to intensify and switch up your leg routine whenever you feel like it. You can be sure of one thing, your legs will do the work.
Additionally, they also work your calves and shins, your lower back and hips, as well as core muscles. It really is a full-body exercise.
Best squatting shoes to improve your squats.
Come in a standing position and separate your feet hip-width distance to start. Now add a third of a foot more room in between your feet and open them slightly so your toes are facing inwards. The goal is for your knees to track your feet once you get low in your squat. This will prevent injuries and help you activate the right muscles without compensating with the wrong area of your body (like your lower back).
Engage your abs by pulling your navel up and closing up the ribcage. Tuck your pelvis to prevent a larger curve in your back as that might cause too much tension and pinched nerves. Relax your shoulders and shake out your neck so there is no tension in your upper body.
If you’re grabbing dumbbells, let them rest at your sides, naturally elongating your arms; if you chose a kettlebell, do the same thing but let the weight rest in front of your body; and if you chose the barbell, place it on your upper back, right above your shoulder blades, and grab firmly.
Help support your squats so you better target your glutes.
At your lowest, you’ll take a pause and hold your breath for a short moment before you explode up on your exhale and squeeze your glutes at the very top.
Resistance bands for leg day
Challenge your squats with these heavy load resistance bands.
Keep your core engaged the entire time and don’t drop it. A tight core protects your lower back and helps prevent pinched nerves and potential injuries.
At your lowest, you should be as close to parallel to the floor with your thighs. Naturally, if you’re just starting out, this won’t be possible, but always go as low as you can without compromising your form and technique.
Keep your knees pointed outward and prevent them from caving in. This will ensure you’re really using your glutes and hamstrings and not putting too much load and pressure on your inner thighs and groin.
Great and versatile gym equipment tool.
On the other hand, if you’re already in training for a while and know your maximum weight, find a program that will help you progressively load over time so you don’t overdo it too fast. Even the best programs feature offload weeks where your body takes a moment to reset and repair before tackling big weights again.
15 lb Dumbbell
One large dumbbell to challenge your workouts.
At your lowest, hold your breath and check your knees. Exhale and straighten your legs, squeezing your glutes at the very top with a slight pelvic tilt to the front to feel the burn. Inhale and keep going.
Help you feel comfortable even when performing squats.
Squats are the absolute leg day foundation. Once you learn how to properly perform them, you can start playing with their vast number of varieties!