Santa Says Squat!
Here at Palms, we love helping you train, so you can perform safely and build muscles in the right places. When it comes to squats, sometimes we can feel off balance, but we’ve put together a guide to help you with your training…
A Little About Squats…
In strength training and fitness, the squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, Quadriceps Femoris Muscle (vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius and rectus femoris), hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body.
Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs and buttocks, as well as developing core strength. Isometrically, the lower back, the upper back, the abdominals, the trunk muscles, the costal muscles, and the shoulders and arms are all essential to the exercise and thus are trained when squatting with the proper form.
How can I ensure I am doing the best squats I can do?
1. The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees (if you have the flexibility to do so comfortably). Pro-tip: Squatting onto a box! Squat until your bottom gently taps the box, this will be a reminder to squat low.
2. Engage the core and with body weight heels, explode back up to standing, driving through heels. Imagine your feet are spreading the floor (left foot to the left, right foot to the right) without actually moving the feet.
How do I start?
- Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over your knees and knees over your ankles.
- Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement. Allowing your back to round (like a turtle’s shell) will cause unnecessary stress on your lower back, so try to avoid rounding.
- Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.
- While your bum starts to stick out, make sure your chest and shoulders stay upright and your back stays straight. Keep your head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.
- Make sure your heels are pressed into the ground.
So when you are next training legs – keep the above tips in mind and start off with a lower weight, concentrating on form first. As you gain confidence then you can begin adding on weight. Remember this isn’t a competition so work within your own abilities and given time you’ll be a squat pro.