Squatting may appear as simple as sitting and then standing, but it is actually a complex multi joint compound movement that requires concentration and practice in order to be done safely and correctly. Here are several tips that will make each squat more effective in toning your legs and butt.
The perfect squat requires hip flexibility and balance. Practice your squats in front of a full length mirror or with a partner to check for proper form. Keep your feet wider than shoulder width and your toes pointed slightly outward to target both your glutes (butt) and thighs.
Your spine should be upright with a very slight arch. Don’t slouch or curve your back as this may cause injury. When performing body weight squats, relax your arms at your sides or cross them across your chest. Once you advance to barbell squats, your arms will balance the bar.
Bend at the knees, slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause briefly at the lowest point and squeeze your buttocks with each squat repetition. Don’t let your knees extend past your toes at any point in your squat. Perform deep and slow full squats to build strong quads. Partial squats only work your knees and the thigh just above the knee and may cause injuries, focus in deep squats.
Adding resistance to your squats can make it more challenging and effective. After you become comfortable with bodyweight squats, use a pair of dumbbells or an empty barbell as training resistance. When you begin to add weights to your routine, it’s a good idea to have a spotter or a squat rack, especially when you begin adding heavier weights.
As you begin to squat, take a slow deep breath and hold it until you rise and return to a standing position and then exhale. Holding a deep breath during the lowering part of your squat reinforces your diaphragm and core with added support, strength and stability.
Keep your eyes locked straight ahead or on a spot on the ground about ten yards in front of you as you squat. Don’t look up at the ceiling or down at the ground, this will prevent curving your spine as you lower and raise your body.
When done properly, squats are a simple and effective exercise that targets and builds strong shapely thighs and buttocks. Make every squat count, make every squat perfect!