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  • 27th JUN 2014

    Am I Squatting Correctly?

    By Emma Price in Gym

    An easy guide to the perfect squat plus tips to increase difficulty

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    Its holiday season and targeting key areas that will soon be on show on the beach in Magaluf/Ibiza/Weston-super-Mare is suddenly at the forefront of our minds. And who can ignore the humble buttock in their exercise regime? Not us, that’s for sure.

    Check out our top tips below for completing the perfect squat.

    Technique:

     

    1. Make sure you are properly warmed up. This applies to any exercise you do, if you are sufficiently warmed up you are much less likely to cause injury to yourself.
    2. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart.
    3. Keep your feet back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centred over your feet. (Myth buster: Squatting is actually good for your knees! When done properly, squats improve knee stability and strengthen the connective tissue surrounding the knee.) 
    4. Slowly bend your knees, lowering your hips to a 90 degree angle, breathing in as you lower. IMPORTANT: Make sure you keep your back straight.
    5. Return to your original upright position whilst breathing out.
    6. Repeat.

     

    Once you have mastered the basic squat, you can mix things up to make your squat workout more challenging...

     

    Squats with weights

    You can add weights into your squat workout for varying levels of difficulty. You can simply hold dumbbell weights by your side for added resistance, or you can even do it with a barbell.

    Barbell squats are one of the best exercises you can do for building a stronger lower back, core and correcting posture. Choose a weight that is challenging for you, this will obviously vary from person to person but don’t worry- the fitness advisors in the leisure centre gyms will be able to help you with this... there’s a reason you check them out while you’re there.

    Sumo squat

    Although named after the super-sized athletes, there’s no connection between their size and this squat variation. There’s simply a slightly different technique to this squat to really get a deeper stance. Rather than having your feet shoulder width apart, you should ensure they are further apart with your toes pointing outwards (hence the sumo reference). When you fulfil the motion, you should still make sure your back is straight! Weights can also be used to increase difficulty.

    Jump squats

    You are guaranteed to feel the burn if you add a neat little jump into your squat. The squat jump should be a continuous movement and you should be landing with bending knees. Believe us, after 20 of these you will definitely feel the muscles you are working. Not only do you get all the benefits of a regular squat, but this is also a great way of increasing heart rate, and so doubles as a cardio activity.

    Rotational jump squats

    Exactly the same as a squat jump... you just have to rotate 180 degrees as you jump. Easy, right?

    The benefits of a regular squat are all included but with the additional test of balance, agility and power. Guaranteed thigh burner!

     

    Just remember- slim for summer, fit for life. So take these handy tips with you to the gym and impress your fellow goes with your skills and technique and beach goers with your perkiness!