Get Your Squat On!
Looking to build up those leg muscles? Squats are the way to go! Squats increase your quadricep, hamstring, and calf muscles, and have also been credited to improve the muscles in your entire body. They are a great beginner exercise to help you tone and also double as a good warm up. The downfall? Execution!
The Proper Way to Get Your Squat On
Imbalances that can affect your form in your squat can be diagnosed by a good trainer, but you can also review your own squat form at home. You can utilize a mirror and look for a few common areas that can be corrected.
Nix the socks, (experts say this is best done barefoot) and stand in front of the mirror facing it. With your feet facing forward, spread your feet hip-width apart. Squat up and down slowly and take a look at what is happening.
Here are 3 things to look for:
Watch your heels.
Do they rise when you squat? If so, research shows that you have shortened calf muscles. It is suggested that you use a chair to work on fixing this. Proceed to sit down on the chair, but barely touch your rear to the chair and then stand up. Repeat this as your exercise.
Look at your feet.
Do your feet turn out? For some of you this is how you walk, however if that is not the case it may be a sign of some weak muscles during the squats. Research shows that if you can correct the weak muscles and squat with your feet straight this will be better for your knees. Duck footed people tend to do Sumo squats which are done with your legs wider and your feet turned out slightly. Squat until your thighs are lined up with your knees. Squatting wide uses a greater number of muscles.
Check out your knees.
Do they bow out or in? In both cases, this is a sign that your leg muscles are short and overactive, and that your rear muscles are weak.
Proper form will always give you the best results and save your rear (no pun intended!). Repeated exercising of those weak rear muscles will strengthen them. Stretching will help to lengthen those short leg muscles as well. If you’re looking to kick it up a notch, add some weights to your squats to work more muscles simultaneously and challenge yourself!
Remember to always check with your doctor before doing any physical workouts.
Contact your coach for more support. Squat away my friend!