If there was one particular exercise you could do, only one what would it be?
Don’t pick an easy one, think what would give you the most benefits if you could do only one?
It’s gotta be number one, I would say maybe the deadlift second place but for me it’s the squat definitely. The number 1 exercise as far as I’m concerned.
You can do it anywhere, with/without weights and get loads of benefits. Plus there’s countless different variations of the squat you can do to keep it fresh, challenging and interesting.
So in today’s short article I wanted to give you a recap on the proper technique of a squat plus give you a few different ways of doing the squat for you to try.
How To Squat
Like I said probably the best exercise out there but often one of the worst executed exercises, technique wise. I have seen some horrible squat technique since being involved in the fitness industry. To get the most out of this exercise and to avoid injuring yourself you need to do it right.
– Start with your feet around shoulder width apart with your toes facing slightly outward (can have toes facing forward if you prefer). Having them excessively inward or outwards increases the load on the knee joint.
– Focus slightly downward on a point on the ground about a metre in front of you as you push your backside out behind you and bend the knees down until there is a right angle at the knee. Ensure you brace your core muscles and keep your back straight throughout the movement.
– Make sure your heels don’t lift off the floor and that the knees don’t come out beyond the toes.
– Once you are down to the right angle (or as low as you can comfortably go) drive back up with your legs (not your back) by pushing your heels into the floor to bring you back to upright.
So that is how to squat. Here a few different ways to squat:
This squat involves no weight. Place your hands in front of you or by your side and follow the above technique, squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, go a bit lower if you want and push upwards to return to the start. Imagine there is an invisible chair behind you you’re going to sit into.
Same technique as the air squat but on the upwards phase use more power to propel yourself into the air. This a great way of building explosive power and strength plus adding some cardio work to your strength training. Ensure you have a slight bend in the knees when you land from the jump rather than straight legs. Don’t try this if you’re new to squatting or suffer from any lower body joint problems.
Same technique as discussed earlier. This time though you have a barbell on your back running just behind the neck. This will feel uncomfortable at first but you get used to it. Can use a squat protector on the bar or a towel on your neck to ease the pain. This is the one where you can lift some serious weight. Make sure you maintain technique though, a lot of people these days want to lift as heavy as possible and sacrifice their technique in the process. Go heavy but do it right to get the most out of the exercise.
This one is quite different. Place one leg in front of the other in a split stance. Stay upright and bend your legs until your back knee if just off the floor (similar to a lunge) without your front knee moving beyond your toes. Press back up to the top of the split stance. Ensure you swap legs after each set. To make more difficult add some resistance. A kettlebell in front of you in two hands or dumbbells in each hand by the side.
Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in two hands in front of you by the top of your chest. Keep your chest up and go into a deep squat before driving through the heels to return to the start position.
So there we have how to squat plus 5 different squats for you to try.
You should all be including this exercise in your weekly training.
Jamie ‘Love To Squat’ Stedman
PS Almost forgot the box squat! A good way of getting started if you’re new to squatting. Place a chair or bench behind you and squat down into it. You can sit down fully or just touch it with your backside before returning to the start. This one is a bit friendlier on the knees and a great way of building up to a full squat.