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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 April 2, 2020

          10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

          10 Quick Easy Workouts To Lose Arm Fat At Home

          Flabby arms are something a lot of us have to tend to. If you find yourself buying a sweater or cardigan to go with your tank top or usually opt for the long-sleeved dress, then you’re not alone. Usually a result of genes, general excess fat or just ageing, it seems difficult to lose arm fat. The fat in our arms accumulates mainly around the triceps – the muscles on the back of your upper arm – and are prone to getting flabby if not exercised regularly.

          What we eat can also play a part in the extent of the jiggle so eating a good, healthy balanced diet as well as keeping well hydrated can put you on the right track. Resistance exercises are the most effective way to blast that underarm fat as well as strengthen, shape and tone your muscles. You can always go down to the gym and work up a sweat but who has time for that? If you want a convenient and quick alternative then you can easily manage an effective routine in the comfort of your own home. All you need is a set of dumbbells and you can start toning up those bingo wings with these 10 easy workouts.

          1. Tricep dips

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            Works: Triceps

            • Hands must be positioned shoulder width apart on a secured chair or bench.
            • Position your bum in front of the bench with feet hip-width apart on the floor and legs bent.
            • Straighten out your arms a little, keeping a slight bend from the elbow so to put more emphasis on the tricep and less stress on the elbow.
            • Keeping your back close to the bench, slowly lower your body so that your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
            • Once in this position slowly push off your hands back to the starting position.
            • Do 10-15 reps.

            2. Bicep curls

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            shutterstock_314080697

              Works: Biceps and shoulders

              • Start off with your feet hip-distance apart, holding one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing out.
              • Starting with your left arm, bend your elbow to slowly bring the weight up to your shoulder holding the position for 5 seconds.
              • Slowly release the elbow and straighten your arm back down to the starting position.
              • Repeat the moves on the right side.
              • Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for each arm.

              3. Push ups

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                Works: Triceps and Deltoids

                • Lying face down, place your hands on the floor roughly shoulder-width apart.
                • Tuck your toes under and gently lift your body up, pushing through your hands and making sure not to lock your elbows.
                • Slowly bend your elbows bringing your face roughly 2-3 inches from the ground.
                • Slowly push back up through your arms. If this is difficult then do the same move but keeping your knees on the floor.
                • Repeat 10-15 times.

                4. Tricep Kickbacks

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                  Works: Triceps

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                  • Place a weight in each hand and kneel down onto the floor with your toes tucked under.
                  • Bend your upper body forward from the hips up and bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
                  • Extend both your arms backwards while your palms are facing each other.
                  • Feel the tension in the triceps and return to the starting position.
                  • Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

                  5. Plank

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                    Works: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps and Core

                    • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
                    • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
                    • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor and your bum is tucked in.
                    • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can. Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
                    • Repeat 3 times.

                    6. Tricep Extensions

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                      Works: Triceps

                      • Stand on a mat with your feet hip-width apart.
                      • Hold one dumbbell with both hands behind your head, bending the elbows.
                      • Bring the weight towards the ceiling, straightening your arms above your head.
                      • Lower back to starting position.
                      • Complete 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                      7. Lateral Arm Raises

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                        Works: Deltoids

                        • Stand with feel hip-width apart. With arms down the side of your body, hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing in.
                        • Starting with your left side, inhale and slowly raise your arm so that it’s parallel to the floor. Make sure not to lock your elbow by keeping a slight bend.
                        • Make sure your arm is straight and palm is facing the floor.
                        • Exhale and slowly bring your arm back down to your side.
                        • Repeat on the right side.
                        • Do 10-15 reps on each side and two sets.

                        8. Overhead Press

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                          Works: Shoulders

                          • Stand up, lining your feet with your hips and hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing out.
                          • Bring the weights to your shoulders.
                          • Keep your core muscles tight and straighten your arms above you.
                          • Slowly bring your arms back down to your shoulders.
                          • Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

                          9. Bent Over Row

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                            Works: Triceps and Biceps 

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                            • Place your feet shoulder-width apart.
                            • Bend your knees and and then bend your upper body forward from the hips making sure you keep your back nice and straight.
                            • Make sure your hands are straight and placed under your shoulders.
                            • Bend the elbows back while lifting your arms towards the sides of your chest, pulling your shoulder blades towards each other.
                            • Slowly lower the weights in a controlled movement and feel the tension at your triceps.
                            • Repeat 10-15 times.

                            10. Skull Crushers

                            Skull-Crushers

                              Works: Triceps

                              • While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back with your knees bent.
                              • Slowly raise your arms so they are above your chest, making sure your elbows are straight but not locked.
                              • Slowly lower both arms toward your head, bending your elbows to 90 degrees as the dumbbells reach the mat. Aim to lower your weights so they are on either side of your head  with elbows bent and pressing in toward your head (being careful not to hit yourself in the face).
                              • Lift your arms back to starting position.
                              • Complete 2 or 3 sets, 10-15 reps each.

                              Featured photo credit: Maddi Bazzocco via unsplash.com

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