The squat is one of the most effective exercises for building leg, lower body & whole body strength.
At the same time, it is one of the most difficult exercises to perform correctly & can be ineffective or even dangerous if performed incorrectly.
Many trainers use the cue, “sit back into the squat” to help teach proper technique & get clients to push their bodies & get the most of out the exercise.
I prefer to use the reminder, “Ass to grass!” to help provide an effective (albeit funny) visual on how to squat as low as possible for full effectiveness.
A Functional Exercise…
Squats are considered to be a ‘functional exercise’ as they have a high carry-over to use in everyday life.
Squats will help with range of motion at the hip & knee joints & help strengthen your back.
They build muscles which help you to sit in & out of chairs, lift items &/or bend down & pick items up off the floor. Squatting effects essential muscles that are used in everyday life.
When performed correctly proper squatting will help to improve muscle tone in your thighs, glutes & hips which will then ease tension on the joints & helps to support your lower back.
Proper Squat Formation…
When squatting, keep in mind the following things:
- Your knees can protrude past your toes, in fact this is much healthier for your knee joint.
- Hinge your hips so your butt moves backward.
- Keep the pressure of the squat on your heels & through to the balls of your feet & toes.
- Keep your head straight – look at the horizon. Spinal alignment is a key technique point.
- Keep your shoulders back & chest out – again, keep the spine aligned.
- Set a healthy arch that suits you. Get this right for your lower back.
- Spread your toes for better balance.
- Inhale as you go down – exhale as you come up. Use your TVA & pelvic floor muscles.
- Aim to cover your calf muscles with your hamstring muscles – this is ‘ass to grass’.
The Importance Of The Pre-Stretch…
Tightness in your chest, back, hips, ankle joint, calf, foot and even toes can cause effective squat technique to be a wish rather than a reality.
Stretch out your groin, your feet and your calf muscles before each set.
You can simply do this by sitting into a deep squat while holding onto a solid stable object & holding that position.
In fact, while you’re down there stretching lean into any areas where you feel tight, this could help increase the depth of your squat & therefore increase the effectiveness of your squat session.
I have my clients stretch before every squat set, then allow thirty to sixty seconds recovery before performing the next set – stretching in this way is more important the heavier you are lifting.
If you are unsure about your technique, invest in a good trainer for two or more squat technique sessions.
Alternatively keep an eye out for my ‘Squat Technique Day’ – coming soon. Let me know if you’re interested in a day of learning how to squat effectively for a strong back & fat loss.
Together we’ll get the ‘ass to grass’ method working to improve your health & physique right away!
To Your Best Health
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