Advertising
Advertising

Complete Beginner’s Guide To Doing Perfect Squats

Complete Beginner’s Guide To Doing Perfect Squats

Squats are one of the most beneficial full-body exercises out there. If you’ve never done a squat before or never achieved the results that you wanted, we’ll show you the rights and wrongs of how to do squats and reap their many benefits.

The Benefits of Doing Squats

Whether you’re looking for a total body workout or just want to gain some strength and muscle, squats are the ultimate exercise. When muscles are placed under a great deal of stress, they release the hormone, testosterone, which is vital to muscle growth. During squats our thigh muscles, which are the biggest and strongest in our bodies, are also the most stressed, allowing the testosterone to widely circulate and contribute to a full-body workout. Squats are also a great exercise to help maintain balance and joint support. The controlled movement helps strengthen the lower body, including ankles, knees, ligaments and tendons, leaving you less susceptible to injury.

Advertising

Bodyweight Squat

bodyweight squat
    1. Plant your feet a little wider than your shoulder width with your weight on your heels and the balls of your feet. Keep your knees over your ankles and your hips over your knees.
    2. Take any unnecessary strain off of your back by keeping your spine neutral throughout the movement.
    3. Reach your arms straight out in front of you so they are parallel to the ground with your palms facing down.
    4. Inhale and unlock your hips by gradually bringing them back and send them backwards as your knees bend.
    5. Find a spot in front of you to focus on and keep your back straight with your head and shoulders up.
    6. As your squat deepens, focus on keeping your knees and your feet in line and go as deep as your body allows. Aim to have your hips sink below your knees.
    7. Keep your body tight and engage your core as you push back up through your heels.

    Single Leg Squat

    Advertising

    one leg squat
      1. Start in the same position as the bodyweight squat, with your feet firmly planted a little more than your shoulder width.
      2. Lift one leg and bend slightly at the knee so your foot is off the ground. If you need extra stability you can hold your raised foot either in front or behind you.
      3. Lower yourself down as far as you comfortably can, using only the leg that is still on the ground, trying not to let your other foot touch the ground.
      4. Return upright without putting your foot down between reps. Use a chair or wall for stability if necessary.

      Eagle Squat

      3c24c8990a693d0efaaef40a7a13dcf6
        1. Start with your feet close together and your hands out at your sides in a T shape.
        2. Lift your right leg over your left and wrap your right foot around the back of your left calf.
        3. Bring your right elbow underneath your left and wrap your right hand around your left forearm so your palms are touching.
        4. Gain your balance and squat as low as your body allows without falling and return upright.

        Sumo Squat

        Advertising

        sumo
          1. Plant your feet with your legs wider than your shoulders and toes pointed slightly outward.
          2. Keep your hips pushed back and bend at the knees. Squat until your thighs are in line with your knees.
          3. Return upright, or do several short pulses when you reach the bottom for an extra workout.

          Common Mistakes

          Poor form when doing squats not only squanders the benefits of the exercise to your body, but can also cause undue stress and injury to your knees and back. Here are some tips on how to do squats safely and efficiently for best results.

          Your knees fall past your toes

          This is an easy mistake for a beginner to make because it’s all about muscle memory. When your knees go beyond your toes you put more stress on the joints and leave yourself vulnerable to injury and strain. Try to keep your knees in line with your toes, not extending more than a couple centimeters in front.

          Advertising

          Your back and shoulders are too relaxed

          Rounding your back is a common mistake for beginners. When your back is straight and your spine is neutral it is easier to maintain control and get the best out of your workout. If you find that your back is too relaxed pull your shoulder blades down and together to engage your core.

          You do not squat deep enough

          Many people believe that squatting too deep can cause injury to your knees. It actually makes for a better workout for your glutes and can even strengthen your knees. Try to squat as low as you comfortably can, aiming to have the top of your thigh just below your knee.

          You only squat once a week

          It’s easy to get frustrated when you don’t see results right away, but the key to squats is perseverance. Squats are very efficient in conditioning muscles and need to be frequently used for any sculpting to take place. Try to squat at least two to three times a week using different variations to work different muscle groups.

          Featured photo credit: antoniodiaz via shutterstock.com

          More by this author

          10 Effective Ways To Stop Hiccups Instantly Complete Beginner’s Guide To Doing Perfect Squats

          Trending in Exercise

          1 8 Yoga Poses to Help You Achieve Strong and Toned Inner Thighs 2 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 3 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 4 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 5 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          Published on July 9, 2020

          10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

          10 Easy At-Home Leg Toning Workouts for Women

          As you grow older, it becomes hard to balance and have stability in your joints if you’re not engaging in leg toning workouts. You start losing muscle mass, strength, and function over time. Furthermore, if you’re physically inactive, you’ll lose 3 to 5 percent of muscle mass each decade after age 30.

          Thankfully, you can still score your strongest legs ever with the help of leg toning workouts. Strong legs help you support your body better and make you more attractive. Also, they are less susceptible to injuries.

          The best part? You don’t need fancy and expensive gym equipment to fire up those leg muscles. You can do that right at home.

          Ready to get strong? Here are the best at-home leg toning workout moves for women.

          1. Bodyweight Squats

            The squat is often referred to as the king of all exercises. It’s an amazing way to tone your legs. Not only does it help you build lean muscle, but it also works your abs, butt, and hips. Also, if you’re suffering from back pain, it’s a great option as it doesn’t strain your back when done right. To do a squat:

            • Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned out.
            • Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
            • Pause for a moment and push yourself back to your original position.
            • Repeat.

            For extra support, consider doing this near a wall. Aim for 3 sets of 15 reps twice or thrice a week.

            Advertising

            2. Forward Lunges

              When it comes to strength training, lunges are one of the most popular choices. It strengthens your legs while improving mobility and stability. Lunges also sculpt your butt and abs. What’s more, it can also help improve your posture. In order to do forward lunges properly:

              • Stand tall holding a dumbbell in each hand with your feet hip-width apart.
              • Take a big step forward with your right leg and lower your body into a lunge until both knees are bent 90 degrees.
              • If possible, lightly touch the floor with your left knee.
              • Push off on your front foot to bring yourself to the starting position.
              • Repeat on the other side.

              Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each leg. You can also do it without dumbbells if you’re just getting started.

              3. Single-Leg Deadlift

                Single-leg deadlifts targets all the major muscles, such as hamstrings, glutes, and even your core. It develops strength, balance, and stability. Another advantage of doing single-leg deadlifts is that it improves mobility through the legs and hips. To do a single-leg deadlift:

                • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
                • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing the front of your thighs.
                • Lean forward and shift your weight on the left leg with your right leg extended slightly behind you.
                • Lift your extended right leg until your body is parallel to the floor, arms hanging down.
                • Slowly return to the starting position.
                • Repeat and switch legs after doing all the reps.

                Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps with a 60 second break in between. If you’re new to this, you can also do it without weights.

                4. Jumping Jacks

                Advertising

                  Jumping jacks are an excellent leg toning workout move. They work your quadriceps, glutes, and hips. According to one study[1], they may also improve bone density. Additionally, this exercise also increases strength and agility. Here’s how you do jumping jacks:

                  • Stand straight with your legs together and arms to your sides.
                  • Jump into the air and spread your legs slightly beyond shoulder-width apart while your arms stretch over your head.
                  • Jump back quickly, bringing yourself to the starting position.
                  • Repeat.

                  Start with 3 sets of 10 or more repetitions of jumping jacks.

                  5. Single-Leg Calf Raise

                  See the source image

                    The single-leg calf raise strengthens both your lower legs and helps improve balance on one foot. This is important because it can improve sports performance and prevent injuries. Furthermore, it can also help prevent the onset of knee pain. Finally, it may also increase the size of your calves. To do a single-leg calf raise:

                    • Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart and arms on your hips.
                    • Bend your left knee and bring it hip-level.
                    • Lift your right heel off the ground and balance on the ball of your foot.
                    • Pause for a moment and lower your heel.
                    • Repeat and then switch sides.

                    Do 3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg. Consider adding weight to make it more difficult.

                    6. Side Lunges

                      This leg toning workout move targets the sides of the glutes and quadricep muscles. It’s also a great exercise for tight hips and groin. Needless to say, it strengthens both your legs and boosts stability. To execute a side lunge the right way:

                      Advertising

                      • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hands clasped in front of your chest.
                      • Take a big step out to the right and lower your right knee until it is bent 90 degrees while pushing your butt back.
                      • Keep your left leg straight during the process.
                      • Push back and return to the starting position.
                      • Repeat.

                      Shoot for 10-12 reps and switch sides. Aim for 3 sets on each leg.

                      7. Plank Leg Lifts

                        Plank leg lifts work your butt and upper legs. With this exercise, you’ll also be able to get the benefits of a regular plank, meaning it will tone your whole body. It trains your core, glutes, and shoulders. Even better? It also trims body fat and improves posture. To do a plank leg lift:

                        • Begin in a low plank position with your body straight and weight on your forearms.
                        • Tighten your abs and raise your right leg, pausing for a moment.
                        • Lower your right leg and do the same with your left leg.
                        • Repeat.

                        Do 2-3 sets of 15 reps. Brace your abs and glutes during the process.

                        8. Glute Bridge

                          The glute bridge makes one of the best leg toning workouts for beginners. It sculpts your legs and improves hip mobility. If done correctly, it also enhances core stability. This exercise is also safe for people with chronic back pain. To do a glute bridge:

                          • Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Place your arms at your sides.
                          • Squeeze your abs and glutes.
                          • Raise your hips off the floor until your shoulder, hips, and knees are in a straight line.
                          • Pause for a few seconds and return to the starting position.
                          • Repeat.

                          Shoot for 2 sets of 10-12 reps. Do this 2-3 times a week. You can also wrap a resistance band around your thighs to challenge your endurance.

                          Advertising

                          9. Step-Ups

                            If you’re looking to strengthen your thighs, step-ups are an excellent choice. It targets the quadricep muscle that helps protect the knee. What’s more, it also improves balance and stability. You can do step-ups anywhere. All you have to do is find a bench, chair or any raised platform. To do a step-up properly:

                            • Begin standing facing a step.
                            • Place your right foot on the step and left foot on the floor.
                            • Press through your right heel and bring the left foot up until your left knee forms a 90-degree angle.
                            • Hold this position for a moment and then return to the starting position.
                            • Repeat and switch legs.

                            Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps on each side. To make it harder, hold dumbbells in your hands.

                            10. Dumbbell Good Morning

                            How to Do Good Mornings With Perfect Form | Muscle & Fitness

                              Dumbbell good mornings mainly target the hamstrings, but they also improve hip and back strength. You’ll also be able to develop stronger glutes with this exercise. Overall, it’s a great exercise for toning your legs. To perform this exercise:

                              1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent while holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level.
                              2. Hinge forward at your hips, and lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor.
                              3. Hold this position for 4-5 seconds and return to your original position.
                              4. Repeat.

                              Aim for 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

                              Final Thoughts

                              There are so many benefits of having well-toned legs. Stronger legs not only look good, but they also give you greater independence as you age. Therefore, it’s important to take good care of them.

                              In addition to exercise, you should also consider exfoliation and moisturization to keep your legs smooth, healthy, and firm. Always remember that strong legs are important if you want to live a healthy and active life. So, start working those leg muscles today, and you’ll thank yourself later.

                              More Tips on Strengthening Your Legs

                              Featured photo credit: Sergio Pedemonte via unsplash.com

                              Reference

                              Read Next