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How to Perfect Your Squat (and Transform Your Workouts in the Process)

How to Perfect Your Squat (and Transform Your Workouts in the Process)

If you’re looking for a simple way to transform your workouts and build total-body strength, then you need to start squatting.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, squats are one of the most effective strength building exercises in existence.[1] Not only do they tone the muscles of the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and calves, but they also strengthen your abdominal and back muscles, improve bone and joint health, increase mobility, and decrease your risk of injury during sports and everyday life.

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The best part? All of this is available to you for free. While some squat variations require gym equipment, the simple bodyweight squat can be done anywhere. You don’t even need to belong to a gym in order to reap total-body benefits.

In spite of these benefits, many people avoid squats. They might hate how challenging they are or they’ve been scared off of them because of joint pain caused by improper form. But for people without contraindicating issues, it’s seriously worth adding squats back into your fitness routine.

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When you practice squats with proper form, you’ll be able to reap all the benefits described above sans pain. While I can’t promise that squats will get any easier, I can assure you they’re one of the best ways to transform your workouts.

1. Foot position

Whatever foot position you adopt for your squat, it should be comfortable, and it’s worth noting that every person’s foot position will look a little different because of minor anatomical differences. In general, aim to stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips with your toes pointed slightly outward. Then engage your feet muscles so your arches don’t collapse inward. (You’ll want to press through the outer edges of your feet as you rise back up, not through the arches.) Try to distribute your weight evenly through both the heels and balls of your feet, and avoid gripping with your toes.

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2. Trunk position

Because it’s an exercise that primarily targets the lower body, a lot of people focus exclusively on the position of their lower body when squatting. But in reality, what you’re doing above the waist is just as important. To maintain the correct trunk position in a squat, straighten your spine, raise your chest, and pull back your shoulders. Extending your arms in front of you (parallel to the floor) can help you maintain this correct posture as you move through the exercise. Also be sure to keep your core engaged throughout the entire range of movement.

3. Head position

Just as it’s important to keep your back in a neutral position while squatting, it’s also important to keep your neck straight. To help ensure your head stays upright during your squats, choose a spot on the wall and fix your gaze there throughout the entire range of motion.

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4. Knee position

There are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to proper knee position. For starters, aim to keep your knees in line with your feet. This will probably require focusing on pushing your knees outward, because most people’s knees will naturally collapse inward as they lower down (although maintaining the foot position described above should help minimize this). Then, when it comes time to lower down, make sure your knees don’t track forward past your toes. This will help you avoid placing undue stress on your knee joints.

5. Hip, butt, and thigh position

As you start to lower, hinge your hips so your butt sticks out behind you. (Do this even before you’ve started bending your knees. Just remember to keep your back muscles engaged, your spine straight, and your chest lifted as you do so.) The depth of your squat will vary depending on how much flexibility you have in your hips. The general rule of thumb is to aim for lowering until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. Engage your glutes throughout the entire range of motion.

Now that you know how to safely perform the exercise, it’s time to incorporate squats into your routine. Using a squat calculator can help you develop a healthy routine and track your progress over time. Squats are a challenging exercise, so it might be tough at first. But the more you practice them, the more their results will inspire you to keep squatting.

Reference

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

5 Fitness Tips That Will Help You Start the New Year

5 Fitness Tips That Will Help You Start the New Year

The New Year has come and passed, and we are starting yet another new and exciting year that awaits us. We are curious to find out what 2017 has hidden for us, but until then you know what you need to do! Just because it is a new year, that does not mean that you should get rid of your habit of regular exercising. And if you by any chance do not have this wonderful habit, this is exactly the year to own it.

Start researching for the best exercising plans, join the nearest gym or that yoga class that you have been thinking of, and start taking better care of your body and mind!

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Why Is Exercising Important?

Of course, you will think of a thousand excuses why this is not the right time to start exercising. So, before I proceed with telling you all about these 5 fitness tips that are meant to help you with your exercising routine, I will start off by sharing some of the many benefits of exercising. This way you can see for yourself that for every excuse you can think of, there is a benefit that will make you forget all about it!

  • Exercising is the perfect way to get rid of that unwanted body weight and control your weight from now on! Not to mention it’s completely healthy compared with all those expensive, promising products filled with chemicals.
  • Exercising reduces the risk for Diabetes 2 and heart attacks. If you are at risk for these conditions, then exercising is the best way to fight it.
  • Exercising helps with pain and stiffness relief with all types of arthritis.
  • Exercising strengthens your bones and muscles.
  • Exercising improves your mood and helps you maintain your mental health.

For whatever reason you have dedicated to starting exercising, I congratulate you! Knowing how many people are out there suffering from types of arthritis, cardiovascular diseases, strokes, etc., choosing exercising to become a part of your everyday routine is the smartest decision that you could have done! And you are not alone. 

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To start you off, here are these 5 fabulous fitness tips that will help you start yet another year on the right path!

1. Schedule your workouts

Make time each Sunday to make a week plan that will include enough time for your workouts. That way, you will not be able to make the excuse that you do not have the time to spend at least an hour a day exercising.

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2. Do not wait for Monday to come

Aren’t you tired of making the same plan over and over and not fulfilling it? Yes, we are talking about that good old plan to start exercising on Monday. Instead, start exercising right now. It is completely irrelevant if it is Tuesday, or Friday, or any other day! Start exercising whenever you feel the urge!

3. Find a workout plan that will work for you

Do not choose a workout plan just because your best friend has chosen it. Choose whatever you feel comfortable doing, are capable of doing, and most importantly, what you love. If you do not like to run, then don’t! Do a 30-minute cardio routine at home instead. If needed, you can hire a personal trainer, who will hear all of your interests when it comes to exercising, and create a promising exercising plan just for you!

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4. Remember why you work out

Do not let yourself forget why you have started working out in the first place. Motivation is everything when it comes to exercising! Create a motivation board near your mirror that will remind you each day why you started as you look in the mirror every day.

5. Leave out the big expectations for later

If you are just starting to exercise now, it is essential to be proud of what you can accomplish right now. Do not get disappointed if you can’t run for an hour; it is normal! You will soon run for an hour and more if you just stick to your plan!

Exercising is fun, beneficial, and probably the best activity that you could have chosen to start your year right! Choose the best diet plan to go with your new exercising routine, and enjoy in the results that are soon to come. And to help you through the process, look back at these fitness tips to help you stay on track with your new exercising routine! Use these tips to keep yourself healthy, or get rid of that unwanted body weight gained during the holidays, and love your soon to be fit body starting today!

Featured photo credit: goodhousekeeping.com/ via google.com

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