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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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          Published on June 7, 2019

          10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

          10 Lower Body Workouts Anyone Can Try at Home

          Having a hard time going to the gym? Fear no more!

          In this article, we’ll be breaking down 10 in home lower body workouts anyone can try at home and their exercises. No gear needed for these workouts, just some space and a cup water waiting for your disposal.

          There’re 3 main parts in this article:

          If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just get into the first section 10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere right away.

          If you want more guidance on the basics, check out the second section Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

          And the last section is about what you should do before and after working out.

          10 Lower Body Workouts That Can Be Done Anywhere

          If you’re familiar with the basic lower body exercises, just read on this section.

          If you’d like to have more guidance on each exercise listed in these 10 workouts, take a look at the following part Lower Body Exercises Breakdown.

          1. The Starter Workout

          3 sets of 8-12 reps of:

          • Squat
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Glute Bridge

          (30 sec to 2 min rest in between each set)

          2. The 7 Minute Workout

          3 rounds of 30 seconds of each exercise:

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          • Walking Lunges
          • Quarter Squat
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (1 min rest in between each round)

          3. The Unilateral Workout

          4 sets of 16 reps of:

          • Reverse Lunges
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Skater Squat
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge

          (30 sec to 1 min rest in between each set)

          4. The Endurance Workout

          2 sets of 20-50 reps of:

          • Squat
          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Glute Bridge

          (1-2 min rest in between each set)

          5. The Back To Back Lower Body Workout

          5 rounds of 10 to 20 seconds of each exercise:

          • Skater Squat
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge
          • Quarter Squat

          (30 min rest in between each round)

          6. Strength Lower Body Workout

          5 to 10 sets of 4 reps of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Squat

          (30 sec to 2 mins of rest time in between set)

          7. Glute Burner Workout

          4 sets of 10-30 reps of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift
          • Single Leg Glute Bridge
          • Quarter Squat

          (1 min of rest time in between set)

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          8. The Advance Lower Body Workout

          3 rounds of 20 seconds of:

          • Squat
          • Walking Lunge
          • Skater Squat
          • Reverse Lunge
          • Glute Bridge
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (2 mins of rest time in between set)

          9. The Quick Lower Body Workout

          2 sets of 10 reps of:

          • Reverse Lunge
          • Step Up
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          10. The 100 Repetition Challenge

          2 sets of 50 reps on each leg of:

          • Walking Lunge
          • Single Leg Deadlift

          (4 mins of rest time in between set)

          Lower Body Exercises Breakdown

          Here’s the breakdown of the lower body exercises[1] that you found in the workouts listed in the first section of this article.

          1. Squat

            A squat is a compound movement which entails the recruitment of a majority of your lower body (quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteal muscles, spinal erectors).

            How to squat:

            Feet shoulder width apart or a little wider. Toes pointed slightly out, arms out in front of you. Sit into your heels till you hit parallel with your butt and knee, drive through the heels, return to starting position and repeat.

            2. Walking Lunges

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              A lunge is a complex movement which recruits mainly the lower body.

              The walking lunges are a harder version of a split squat which is stationary and then adds the component of stepping and keeping balance which engages the gluteus medius as well as allowing a larger range of motion.

              3. Reverse Lunge

                A reverse lunge is very similar to the split squat but instead, after every rep, you are returning to the starting position and stepping back.

                By reverse stepping, you are allowing for a better emphasis on the hamstrings and gluteal muscles as opposed to the quadriceps muscles in a forward stepping lunge.

                4. Quarter Squat

                  A quarter squat is the top ¼ movement of a squat. This will work mainly the gluteal muscles as it emphasizes the hip extension and not a lot of range of motion on the quadriceps muscles.

                  5. Skater Squat

                    A skater squat is a unilateral variation of the squat, this squat really engages the gluteus medius and hamstrings as it works unilateral stability and hip flexion which fires both the hamstrings and glutes.

                    6. Step Up

                      The Step Up is the greatest balance of getting the glutes and quadriceps muscles firing. Doing Step Ups will not only get the glutes going, but the quadriceps as well.

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                      7. Glute Bridge

                        Glute Bridges are a great way to nearly isolate the glutes and build a great butt. This entire movement works through hip extension which the main movement of the gluteal muscles.

                        8. Single Leg Glute Bridge

                          Single leg glute bridge ensures that we are evenly building the glutes and not relying too heavily on our dominant leg and symmetrical butt. The step up can be done in a chair or a step in the stairs

                          9. Single Leg Deadlift

                            Single Leg RDL’s engage that entire booty and hamstrings, especially the gluteus medius due to its unilateral stability property. This is a great way to spice up some routine deadlifts.

                            Before & After Working Out

                            Before engaging in any physical activity, consult a doctor if you have not worked out in years. However, if you want to go at it without consulting a doctor, start slow and build your way up. Even though it’s home workout, use dynamic stretching or some light jogging[2] as a warm up before starting the lower body workouts.

                            Finally, at the end of the lower body workout, use static stretching to reduce injuries and to calm down your heart rate gradually.

                            Featured photo credit: Gesina Kunkel via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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