Are Your Squats Effective?

By Kelly Martin and Jhodie-Ann Williams

Squats are great, people like (dare I say Love?) squats. Squats may be the most effective and definitely one of the most effective exercise for just about any program however preforming this exercise inaccurately can leave you underwhelmed or even injured. 

Squats focus on the glutes, hamstrings, legs and quadriceps making this a great dynamic warm-up or a full on workout. You're not just building the perfect bum when you perform a squat in great form, you're building a leg power house. 

Making sure you master this move comes in a few progressive and regressive steps, try out the moves below and get a new feel for your squats: 

 

1. Wall sits

If you're new to squats, this is a great way to start. This is a good way to practice keeping your knees from passing your toes.

  • Stand with your back against a wall
  • Walk your feet out about 2 inches in front of you and have them shoulder length apart
  • Slide your back down and bend your knees until they're at a 90 degree angle
  • YOU'RE DOING IT! Hold for at least 20 seconds and slide back up to a standing position 
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2. Stability / Trx

Using a stability ball or a TRX trainer is also a great way for beginners to practice the right squat form. By incorporating these two into your squat regimen, you'll be getting your body accustomed  to sitting back into your squat and not pushing your knees over your toes.

 

3. Free stand/ prisoner

When you're comfortable enough, you can try this free stand squat. You're relying on your body weight here, so you'll be forced to engage your glutes and core. It's a common one , but people tend to do it incorrectly.

  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart
  • Keep your back straight 
  • Slowly begin to sit and push your butt back
  • Keep the weight of your body in your heels and the ball of your feet 
  • Slowly come back up tightening your glutes as you come up back into a standing position 

Go as low as you feel comfortable, but the goal is to get your hip joint lower than the bend of your knee.

 
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4. Overhead Squat

 You probably recognize this form as one that body builders do with a bar loaded with plates. Don't. Do. That. Especially if this is your first time. Overhead squats can give you a great challenge, but don't compromise your form by compensating in your feet or knees.

Slowly introduce your body into this squat by replacing a bar with a taut towel above your head. When you're comfortable with that, try using a light weighted bar without plates.

These squats are good for improving your posture, strengthening your core, and increasing your balance. 

                                              Sweat Secrets

Squats are the shit! So, you know, do them. Regressions and progressions are an essential part of any training program. Take a few steps back every once in a while to review your fundamental muscle functions.