If you workout or have the intention of starting to workout the chances are you have googled searched the term “Squat” in some instance, whether it be why to/how to/should you etc. What I find with a lot of the replies to these questions is they either don’t answer all the questions you have or they baffle you with science. So I write this with the intention of giving you everything you need to know to set off on your journey to the perfect Squat and to make it as simple as possible.
Because lets me honest you just want to be able to get your butt as close to the floor as possible and back up again
This seems like the perfect place to start “Why Squat” well this is down to you to answer really I mean what are your goals? What are you trying to achieve by squatting?
Training for a sport or event?
What ever your health and fitness goals in my opinion there is a squat for that. You see a squat is the most functional movement your body can perform. Its getting up from a chair or picking something up from the floor sounds simple if your young and agile but the older you get these tasks become a challenge unless your a master squatter of course.
Some women will be reading this thinking “hang on a minute I want to burn fat but i don't want to build muscle, I don't want bulky legs” Patience ladies I’ll get to that a little later, stick with me on this one.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should squat -
As you can see a simple squat has a lot of benefits and from reading this you will see I have a love affair with squats for a very good reason
How to Squat
Now you understand Why lets look at How to Squat, Like anything in the fitness world there are other opinions on whats right and wrong when looking at the specifics in a squat, what I am going to talk to you about today is the bodyweight squat but these key points transfer to any variation of the squat.
It is important to remember that everyone is build differently and everyone’s body functions differently so the most important thing to take from this is keep it functional to you.
You may not be able to squat very deep at first, you may tilt forward or backwards slightly, you may feet your toes turning out. These are all normal squatting issues and things that can be over come as long as your squat is safe don't be overly analytical. If your Squatting double your bodyweight and you have these issues stop now, but in a bodyweight squat we can work with in the squat to improve these issues.
So you can see the 5 key points are-
1.Chest up shoulders back, this is making sure you keep good posture and tight core through the squat
2.Sit back in to the squat, you want to aim to replicate that sitting down movement so imagine a small chair your trying to sit back in to.
3.Keep knees in line with ankles, don't let your knees buckle inwards during your squat try and keep them inline with ankles and don't let them come forward over the toes otherwise all that weight is going straight through your knee and we don't want that
4.Squat to Parallel or below if possible, Try and squat to a point where your hips are inline with your knees, if you can go beyond this point and keep your form then do it, the deeper the better.
5. Accelerate up from the bottom of the squat, When squatting your tempo should be slower as you descend and faster upwards once you hit the bottom part of your squat, don't lock out the knees at the top but stand straight so the hips come back in line.
Improve your Squat
Now we understand how to squat it should make spotting your faults a little easier this will help you identify the work you need to do to improve your squats in this part. There will be areas that all of us can work on to help improve our squats tho namely hip mobility, core activation and glute activation, These are simple things but can make a huge difference to how you execute your squats and to how effective your squats are. More activation results in better muscle definition and more calories burnt.
Here I'm going to list the common Squat problems people have and ways to fix these problems -
Your knees buckle inwards - Activate your glutes, You want to tense your butt as hard as you can for 20 seconds and then punch it for 20 seconds do a few sets per day to get those glutes active. Other fix is to put a band around your legs just above the knee and as you squat push your legs against the band.
Your Heels come off the floor - When you squat before you think about bending your knees think about pushing your bum back as far as you can once its back your knees will bend naturally when you do this try and curly your toes up so that the weight has to shift to your heels, your toes should always remain light on the floor. other fix for this is placing something under your heels to raise them an inch or two.
Your rounding your back - If this happens your going to want to look at strengthening up your core muscles, a good way to do this with in the squat is to put your arms above your head with your and try to keep them up while you squat, there going to want to come forward the lower you get but be tight through your core and try and fight to keep them up. you can also look at improving hip mobility by doing the 2 mobility exercises here:
Should women squat (if they don’t want big legs)
YES!!!! Ladies you should be squatting and no you will not get big bulky legs!
If your on social media the chances are you’ve seen the “Squat challenge” “She Squats” or 100’s of other posts that advertise squats to women by showing them a perfectly round huge booty and thick toned thighs. These pictures just like before and after pictures are most probably photoshopped or are of a fitness model who’s doing a lot more than a few squats. Building bulk in a muscle requires much more than a few squats its about the right amount of calories, macronutrients, training volume, supplementation and a ton of hard work. If your eating for fat loss, lean muscle growth and maintenance the squat is only going to help burn calories, and build lean, toned shapely legs and glutes. If you don’t believe me ask a guy who’s trying to add size to his legs in the gym I can assure you he will tell you that it takes much more than a few squats…much to his disappointment.
Whether your a seasoned Squatter or just starting out I hope you can take something away from this because for every good squat you do now you’ll be thankful for in later life.
Thanks for reading and keep going deeper.