I include squats in most of my programs. They’re often considered the ultimate exercise. They use large muscle groups, so you’ll burn tons of calories when you do them and increase nitric oxide levels that lower blood pressure. Squats build lower body strength, too. The key is performing squats properly. Ironically, babies do squats perfectly, since they’re a fundamental body movement.
Form begins with your body position before you start.
A squat starts with the body straight with feet slightly wider than hip-width, keeping your toes slightly pointed outward and even pressure on both feet. Your head should be up and your shoulders back in a relaxed position. The lower back should have its natural slight curve. That brings your back into the neutral position that you have to maintain throughout the exercise. This position is most important since it’s the key to the perfect squat. It helps to find a spot on the wall to look at and maintain that throughout the exercise.
Put your arms straight out, keeping them parallel to the ground.
Start to lower yourself into a squat position. As you lower yourself, try to keep your heels on the floor and your weight evenly distributed between the balls of the feet and heel. Brace your core muscles and keep them tight. Breathe deeply as you bend your hips, pushing your butt back at the same time. Focus on doing the squat by pushing your hips backward. Your knees should be in line with your feet in full squat position. Once your hips are lower than your knees, push through your heels and lift your body upward.
Squats can tone your booty and firm your thighs.
You can also modify squats to work different muscle groups or work muscles on different planes. You can modify the width of your feet to do that or do squats holding a barbell or dumbbell. Holding a dumbbell over your head as you do a squat can improve upper back muscles. Holding a barbell behind your back on your shoulders is called a back barbell squat. It’s a great strength-building exercise. A jump squat can increase your heart rate as it provides the benefits of a squat.
- As you rise from a squat, don’t forget to squeeze your butt at the top to work your glutes. You should also breathe in as you lower and out as you rise.
- Some common mistakes include overarching the back or leaning too far forward. Putting your weight on the balls of your feet is another problem people have with form.
- If you have an issue with your form, correct it before you start to add weight. The additional weight exacerbates the issue and can cause injury. Put your initial effort into perfecting your form.
- Squats burn tons of calories and are excellent for seniors. They help seniors maintain independent living since they prevent injury and are vital for functional fitness. They aid in tasks like getting out of a chair or on or off the toilet.
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