The Squat has earned the title, 'King of Exercises' and rightly so. No other exercise hits the muscle as hard as a good solid set of squats. No other single exercise can get the lungs and heart racing like the squat. No other single exercise can stimulate growth like the squat.
If you're not squatting then it's time you started.
The squat movement itself is pretty straightforward but can be performed with several variations to produce slight different results. These squat variations include, front squat, hack squats, dumbbell squats, sumo squats and box squats.
No matter which style you perform, stick with the tips below to ensure your squats are safe and effective.
- Ensure sure your feet point either directly ahead of you or slightly outwards. Never point your feet inwards. An inward turn can place disproportional stress on your knees
- Whatever foot angle you find most comfortable it's imperative that you maintain the same angle for both feet. Different angles can place uneven load on one knee – not good.
- When lowering, your knees should not extend ahead any further than the end of your toes. Over extending can cause extra stress on the knee joints.
- Following on from point 3, ensure that your knees remain vertically in line with your feet, not jutting out to the left or right. Having your knees 'out of line' with your feet can again, can place extra stress on your knee joints.
- Rather than trying to lift the bar, focus instead on pushing your legs down into the ground. You'll find this actually makes the lift 'seem' easier. Plus, this approach also helps you maintain proper form with a straight back by thinking about your legs pushing rather than your body lifting.
- Ensure your back remains at a constant angle to your body during the squat. You want the power to come from your quads (and hip flexors) not your back. Plus altering the angle places extra load on the lower back.
- Squat depth – there's been endless discussions on just how deep you should squat with no common agreement ad probably never will be. My advice ?, do not stick to just one depth, vary the depth of your squats regularly.
The squat is the # 1 exercise not just for legs but for complete body conditioning. I highly recommend you include squats in your routine, once per week is optimal.
I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at the progress you make not just with your legs but with all aspects of your training.