Squats are a great exercise that are completely functional, and mirror a movement we frequently do in our day-to-day routine. Knowing how to do squats the right way can truly benefit your body in a lot of ways - including making your butt look pretty good.
How to Do Squats
Think about all the times you sit then stand, or bend down to pick something up. You're squatting.
It's really important that, throughout our lives, the muscles and joints stay in decent enough shape that allow us to do this with ease. As we get older, joints start to creak and muscles ache a little faster...all the more reason to keep our body in motion. "Use it or lose it" applies here to all people with healthy joints.
I've worked with clients from 8 to 88 and I've had all of them do squats - or some variation - when working out.
Three reasons I love this exercise is because:
- squats strengthen your glutes and thighs, but also your lower back and abdominal muscles
- when performed properly, they improve stability of the hip, knee and ankle
- you can do them anywhere, anytime - no equipment needed at all
This list could really go on and on, from boosting metabolism to increasing caloric burn and everything in between. Think you have strong enough glutes and quads? Try a squat test tonight and see how you do. Continue doing some form of squats regularly (3 to 5 times a week), then test yourself again in two weeks. Hopefully you'll notice a difference in the amount of time you can squat (muscular endurance). Below are a couple tests you can try out. Let me know how you do!
Three Types of Squats
This has been built into a great many of my workouts - and is a staple in workouts in The Belly Burn Plan. I like it because it provides wall stability, ensuring your back will remain straight, but definitely works the legs - to say the least!
Here's how to do it:
- Lean up against a wall with your back straight.
- Walk your feet out about a foot or so and keep them hip's width apart.
- Slide down the wall into a "seated" position. Try to get to the point where your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Make sure that your knees are not creeping over your toes. If they are, walk your feet out a few more inches from the wall.
- Hold for a minimum of 30 seconds. If you're feeling really strong, start at 45 seconds, or even a minute. Repeat 3 times. If you're up for it, go to fatigue, or until you can't hold the position any longer.
Body Weight Squat
This is great way to start doing squats, or to build up muscular endurance the exercise in general. If you've never done squats, or if it's been a while, start with these before you graduate to adding weights. These are still butt-kickers, especially is you do the test below.
- With your arms extended out in front of you, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Drop down into a seated position keeping your knees right over your toes.
- Stand back up.
- Try 3 sets of 30 - all the while focusing on your form.
- Go down for one second, and up for one second, continue repeating with no pause until you're done.
I really like having people hold their arms out in front of them because it forces the back to stay straight. If you hunch over too much, you could really hurt your knees or your back, so be careful with this!
- Keep your back as straight as possible (pull your shoulder blades back). You don't want to fold over your legs. This will stress your knees too much. The weight should be in your hips.
- Really focus on squeezing your butt and not letting your knees cave in.
- If you feel like your heels are coming off the ground, don't go down as far. You need to work on your flexibility, which will come naturally as you continue working out.
Another type of squat uses weights, usually held over the shoulders, like with a barbell or holding a dumbbell with both hands in front of you. If you're new to squats, stick with the body weight squats and wall squats for now.
If you want to make your squats more challenging, then use a set of dumbbells to hold at your side, one in each hand. Some people are comfortable starting with 10 pounds in each hand, others are more comfortable with a heavier weight.
Regardless of what you're comfortable with, follow the same instruction as the body weight squat, mentioned above.
Because you're working with extra weight, you'll probably need to decrease the number of repetitions. Assuming you have an extra 20 or 30 pounds at your sides, aim to do three (3) sets of 15 to 20, with about one-minute rest in between sets.
Last tip: If you really want to get your body into shape without dieting and by working out to burn more fat, then order The Belly Burn Plan today. It's just a couple bucks and probably the best book you'll read for your fitness and health!
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