Squats are a movement natural to children, however as we get older and sit in unnatural positions all day – our squat form goes from perfect, to us not knowing how to squat correctly at all.
Squats are a compound movement, which means that you use more than one joint (your hip, knee and ankle joints) to complete it. This means it is also a fantastic "bang for your buck" exercise as it uses many muscle groups in the body. While you obviously use your legs, your back and core are also involved to stabilise, particularly as you begin loading up in a dumbbell or barbell squat.
Increasing your strength in your knees and hips (and entire body) reduces your chance of injury while doing both athletic movements and everyday life things such as lifting objects, sitting and standing up.
Today we will go through the basics of the squat movement, and how I like to teach it. I like to start by using a bench to guide and check squat technique and gradually increase the difficulty as you can correctly perform the movement safely.
1. Stand next to a bench and assume neutral spine
2. Sit back to the bench, bending knees and hips simultaneously
3. Lower slowly keeping core engaged and pushing knees out to the side (into external rotation)
4. Keep weight in heels
5. Lower to bench or as low as you can while maintaining a spine with a natural curve (neutral)
6. Push up through the heels, squeezing glutes through to stand and abs braced.
Once you can perform 10 reps easily to the bench with correct form, you can begin to move away to increase the depth of your squat.
What we are looking for is that the last two to three reps of your set are difficult while maintaining good form.
Then it's time to add weight!
No matter what level you are at with your squats it is always beneficial to nail the basics.