The squat provides an excellent lower body workout and provides the foundation for a well-balanced physique. Squats are also a very versatile exercise as they can be done in almost any location, with or without the use of weights or equipment. The squat is one of those exercises that people often get very wrong because they don’t understand the basics of the movement. In order to truly master the squat and get your form and technique right, follow the below tips.
So, are you ready to do the perfect squat? Here goes…

1. Adopt the correct stance – Firstly, stand up straight with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Ensure you aren’t pushing your hips forward.
2. Get the feet in the right place – Your feet need to be placed about shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers. If you are using a barbell, secure it onto your shoulders/traps so it’s resting comfortable and you can still maintain the correct posture from point 1. You can also use dumbbells.
3. Time to SQUAT – Start by sitting down as if you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend while pushing out your buttocks.
4. Get nice and low – When squatting down, go down smoothly so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels. When squatting heavy weights, people often choose to wear a weight belt and/or knee straps to support the movement and the joints to reach a personal best and support their posture. A weight belt will also help to take the pressure off the lower back.
5. Keep your body tight – Keep your body nice and tight and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position. If you initially struggle with the movement or you are new to squatting, it’s a good idea to start without any weight at all so you can master the movement and feel comfortable with it.

If you are new to squatting then don’t expect to master the squat right away. Focus on your form, and then worry about adding reps after. A great way to really add depth and help improve your squatting technique is to use a box behind you. After taking anthropometrics like limb length into consideration, it’s suggested that people should start with a 14-15 inch box height. The concept is simple: If your butt doesn’t touch the box, you aren’t hitting ample depth.

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Betsy Smith

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