One move is the core of any great workout program: squats. These are a part of having a strong, fit body.
“Babies can squat even before they can walk,” Laura Miranda, DPT and CSCS, trainer and physical therapist, is the founder of PURSUIT.
Unfortunately, this natural ability has likely deteriorated over time. Alena Luciani CSCS, strength coach, trainer, and creator of Training2XL says that as our bodies get older, our bones become longer and we develop more muscles around the joints. This causes us to be more limited than we were when we were young. Although there are some things we can do, we can’t help but notice a little more resistance around joints as we grow.
It’s worth the effort to rediscover your “chef’s kiss” squat form. Although squats are primarily a lower body exercise they also fire up every major muscle in your body, including your quads and glutes. They can also keep you strong as you age. Want to be able to get out of a chair without difficulty when you turn 80? Yeah, squats.)
This guide will help you squat correctly, whether you’re looking to lift a heavy barbell or if your legs need to be challenged by squat variations.
How do you do a perfect squat?
You can’t do bodyweight squats without properly squatting. This is how to correct your form and get low like a pro.
1. Your leg mobility will determine how you adjust your stance. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. At 11 and 1 o’clock, turn your toes slightly inward. Keep your arms straight. Luciani says that if you have long legs, you might need to increase the space between your feet and your hips.
2. As if you were sitting in an invisible chair. Inhale and engage your core. Push your hips back, as if you are lowering into a chair. Trainer Tatiana Lampa, CPT, says that while you are squatting down, your upper body shouldn’t fall forward. Keep your chest up and maintain a neutral spine.
3. Concentrate on your alignment. Press your knees outward and keep your torso straight. Also, distribute the weight equally between your feet. Luciani says, “Imagine that your feet and knees are like a train track.”
4. Slowly descend. Continue to lower your legs until they are parallel with the ground. Lampa says to stop right away if you see yourself doing the “buttwink”. (Read: Rounding the lower back and posterior pelvic tilt.
5. Inhale and reverse the motion. To return to standing, press through your heels and push your feet into the ground. Luciani says, “Pretend you’re holding a $100 bill in your hands and pinch it.” It may sound silly but it is extremely helpful in using your glutes for squatting.
6. Take note of your posture from the top. Standing tall means that your hips, knees, and shoulders should be aligned. Luciani says, “Everything is in an even neutral line.”