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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.

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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

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    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

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        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

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        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.

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          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

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          Last Updated on June 5, 2018

          Is Building Muscle Possible in Your 40s? (Build Muscle the Batman Way)

          Is Building Muscle Possible in Your 40s? (Build Muscle the Batman Way)

          Ben Affleck just recently got in bodybuilding-shape for the movie Batman vs. Superman. What few people know is that Ben Affleck is 45 years old at the moment. Yet Ben Affleck looks like a monster in his role as Batman. On top of that he’s 6’3” – being tall makes it even harder to look muscular. Yet Batman completely nailed it.

            While a lot of the look as Batman may be due to his costume and the lighting, Ben Affleck nonetheless is a key example for building muscle if you’re over the age of 40. Mainly because he follows these 3 rules:

            Rule #1: Stick to the basics

            Ben Affleck doesn’t like working out, that’s where most people begin. Even me as a trainer, I don’t wake up in the morning and think: “Hell yeah, time to do a workout session”.

            It was torture. […] I hate to exercise. — Ben Affleck

            Training is nothing fancy, it should simply be part of your routine. Yet a lot of the people that start training after the age of 40 think they need a specific, fancy workout schedule. This is not true.

            While your recovery periods may truly be longer, you don’t need to train any different than a 20 year old unless you have major physical limitations such as a herniated disc.

            The most important thing in every workout schedule should be to get into a routine. This can be harder because as an adult, you have more responsibilities such as a demanding job or a family.

            In the beginning, you need to juggle multiple aspects of your life. That’s why you need support from your environment. Also, try to make friends at the gym or join groups on Facebook and Whatsapp. This will also help you with number #2.

            Rule #2: Keep going

            Most people that sign up for a gym membership quit after 3 months. I’m a huge supporter in making your workout and diet sustainable, yet this is much harder if you are 40+ years old.

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            That’s also a reason why most of the actors are not able to keep their bodies in the long-term. For example, Ben Affleck only has a great body until he has to be on the scene. The movie holds him accountable.

            If Ben would step on set, looking like a Spongebob instead of a Superhero, no one would take him seriously and he would risk his career. You have to hold yourself accountable to your workout schedule.

            Realize that most worthwile things in life are hard first before they get easier.

            Write down your realistic goals for yourself or even publish it on your facebook wall and post your training pictures. This will create social pressure to help you keep going.

            Plan your workout sessions ahead of the week and treat them as a priority. What works with most of my clients is setting a specific workout time in the morning. as the kids are often still asleep at that time. Make those early morning hours the ‘You-time’. Training early in the morning can also help with rule #3.

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            Building muscles will take longer if you’re 40 due to the wear and tear over the years. Be persistent.

            For extra accountability: Train with a friend or hire a coach. A coach holds you accountable and gives you the necessary guidance.

            Rule #3 Enjoy the process

            Ben Affleck told an interviewer that he noticed that once he went for a workout, other things started to improve in his life. He increased his discipline and had more energy at the movie shoot.

            This is a phenomena I can see on a daily basis. While we’ve seen in rule #1 that training is usually not that enjoyable, the other effects in your life are absolutely great.

            Your workout schedule can be a Trojan Horse. You start the schedule wanting to improve your physique but you end up improving every aspect of your life.

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            Getting a workout can be a huge win for your day. Even if your whole day was awfully bad, at least you got a workout in.

            Admiral William McRaven, the retired United States Navy Admiral talks about making your bed to start your day right. Going for a workout is making your bed on steroids. It takes discipline and willpower to do it, but training has many positive side effects.

            Instead of always focusing on your goal you have to enjoy and trust the process.

            You can build muscles after 40

            Ben Affleck is a monster. He’s a great example for a person that build a great amount of muscles even while being older and fairly tall.

            He managed to build such an impressive physique by following three basic rules:

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            1. Sticking to the basics.
            2. Finding reasons to keep going.
            3. Enjoying the process. Realize that exercising is a Trojan Horse.

            Here’s a video about how Ben Affleck transformed his body:

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