This month’s exercise is a squat. This is a fantastic all around full body exercise that is very functional for everyday life. Have I convinced you yet to give it a try?
Targets: quadriceps. Also incorporates: gluteus maximus, aductor magnus, soleus, hamstrings, gastrocnemius, erector spinae, rectus abdominis, obliques.
How To: Squat down by bending your hips back, as if you are sitting in a chair, while allowing knees to bend forward being sure to not extend them too far past the toes, keeping your back straight and knees pointed same direction as feet (towards the 2nd and 3rd toes). Descend until thighs are just past parallel to floor. Extend knees and hips until legs are straight. Return and repeat.
Important to keep in mind: Keep your head facing forward, back straight and feet flat on floor; equal distribution of weight throughout forefoot and heel. Knees should point same direction as feet throughout movement. Core engaged, shoulders back and down with chin tucked and squeeze your glutes on the way back up. Once you add a bar, DO NOT place the bar on the back of your neck, be sure it is placed on the top of your shoulders (feel for the ‘shelf’).
What do I do with my hands? Well, this depends on how you are doing the squat.
If you are doing a body weight squat, you can put them out in front of you or cross your arms over your chest. If you are doing the exercise with a dowel or the squat bar, place the dowel behind you placed on your shoulders, NOT your neck, and have your hands equally on both sides holding the bar in place.
Once you start to become a natural at this exercise then you can start switching it up by changing how and where you hold the squat bar (i.e. front squat vs. back squat), you can bring in different gym equipment like a barbell or kettlebell, or change the positioning of your feet and legs. There is just so much you can do, isn’t it so exciting?!
This is a great all around exercise to become comfortable and familiar with. Give it a try today with your body weight alone, then add in a dowel, and finally progress to a squat bar as your biomechanics improve.