The Squat. A pretty simple thing that we all know how to do, and we do it on a daily basis whether working out or just picking something up off the floor. But are you squatting correctly? Most likely not. I can’t even count how many times I am in a workout class and see the lamest, saddest looking incorrect squats coming from both men and women…and not only is it improper form, but its not doing you any good. In fact, it could be doing some damage.
When you squat, your feet should be about shoulder width apart, toes slightly turned out. Your ass should push back and down and your chest should stay lifted. Your knees should stay in line with your toes and never buckle inwards towards each other. Letting your knees buckle or creep way past your toes puts a lot of pressure on your joints and could cause pain. To fix this-pretend you have a band around your knees and you need to push your knees outward to keep that band from falling down.
And most importantly, you need to GET LOW. Ass to the grass. This means your booty should hit below parallel with your thigh, never above parallel. Going above parallel doesn’t work your glutes in the same way- when you hit below parallel, you really put all of the load on your butt, which will tighten and lift it over time if you stick with it! The whole point of a squat is to work your ass- to get that tight round lifted look we all want. If you don’t get low, you’re literally just wasting your time.
Additionally, if you don’t go below parallel in your squat, you are working your quad muscle way more…and I know most of you want to squat to build a better bum, not bigger thigh muscles. That being said- you always work your hamstrings and quads- all of your leg muscles- when you squat, but to get the most bang for your bum, GET LOW!
Looking good and achieving your body goals aside- the squat is one of the most fundamental movements that we as human beings do every day. If you don’t go to or below parallel, you are cheating your body at gaining strength it needs to perform every day tasks more efficiently. The more strength you have and build now, the better off you will be for many years to come.
You may need to work on some mobility to be able to get low on your squats- and that is totally fine! If you have tight hip flexors, some simple stretches can help loosen you up and with a little practice, you’ll be squatting properly in no time at all.
AND! Happy Memorial Day to all of you- be safe, have fun, indulge a little and treat yourself well!