How to perform squats correctly and safely. The squats is a fantastic compound exercise for building and strengthening your quads and glutes.
The squat exercise is a very popular exercise, many bodybuilders and weight lifters love it with a passion, it’s a preferred leg exercise for many.
The squat is probably the best leg muscle building exercise there is, especially for the quadriceps (thighs).
There are a few different ways to perform the squat, different types of equipment can be used.
Squats can also be performed just using your own body weight, no equipment required. Just using your own body weight is recommended if you have never performed squats before, using no weights will help you to master the technique without the risk of injury or over training your legs.
Equipment for performing the squat exercise
- Smith machine
- Power rack
- kettle bells
- Squat machine
The power rack using a barbell is the most common equipment used by weight lifters.
Correct Squat Technique
- Start position – standing up straight, your feet should be around shoulder width apart.
- Keep your back straight and lower yourself bending your knees until your thighs are just above parallel with the floor, most of your body weight should be supported by and focused on your heels. During the motion your knees shouldn’t go past your toes.
- Slowly push yourself back up using your legs and return to the start position and repeat.
Muscles Worked During the Squat Thighs (Quadriceps) – Buttocks (Gluteus Maximus) – Hamstrings – Lower back. Squatting is a core exercise and it’s considered an important exercise for improving total body strength.
Is there risk of injury from squatting? There is a slight risk with most heavy weight lifting exercises, some believe squats are responsible for injuries to the back and knees. As with most exercises to help prevent injury make sure you master the technique so you can perform it safely before attempting any exercise, especially if it involves heavy weights. Get a gym instructor to show you the correct technique if necessary.
Squat variations – Stance position
- Normal – Balanced position works the middle of the thigh.
- Wide – Targets the inside of the thigh.
- Close – Targets the outside of the thigh.
How low should you go?
- Full squat – This is thighs just below parallel with the floor.
- Half squat – This is thighs just above parallel – Recommended for beginners.
- Parallel squat – Thighs are parallel with the floor in the lower position.
Alternative exercises to squats – If you don’t like squats for what ever reason the following exercises are very good for strengthening your thighs, buttocks and lower back.
- Leg press – Thighs and buttocks
- Lunges – Thighs and buttocks
- Stiff leg deadlift – hamstrings and lower back.
These are some different versions of the squat that you might be interested in.