Why on earth would you want to do squats? Here are a few good reasons.
- Burn calories and maybe lose weight (remember, we’re going into the holidays)
- Lessen your chance of injuring your knees and ankles by strengthening your legs
- Helps with balance as you strengthen your glutes
- Makes your bum look good.
Squats will help you burn calories and might even help you lose weight.
Your glutes (aka your bum) are the biggest muscle in your body
By activating the muscles in your glutes, also start engaging other muscles in your body as well. It all adds up.
Reduce your chance of injury
How often do you hear people say that have injured their knees or have “bad knees.” Yes, we can have arthritis and knee injuries, but we can do something to help. That is strengthening our glutes and legs to “protect” those precious knees.
Doing squats and more importantly, getting off your glutes and getting them strong can help strengthen your entire leg muscles. As a runner, I know that having strong glutes will take the load off my hamstrings and knees.
Improve balance and stability
Because you are strengthening your glutes, your other muscle “friends” start coming along for the ride. These “friends” are your quads (front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs), and your ankles. You can even get a little waistline help by keeping your abdominals strong while you are in the squat.
Give yourself that beautiful butt that all the fashion magazines rave about. OK, a little vanity is fine. You don’t want to have a flat butt when you wear your jeans, do you?
Even if you have never done a proper squat, it’s not too late to start. We squat to pick up a small child or pet the dog or do household chores. So often I see people bendt over to lift heavy objects and then wonder why they injured their back. I always like to say to my training clients, use your legs and not your back. Your butt can take the weight, your back can’t.
How to do the basic squat
- Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- Proud chest position, engage your abdominals, and shift your weight onto your heels as you push your hips back into a sitting position.
- Lower your hips until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor.
- You should feel the squat in your thighs and glutes (mostly your glutes, please).
- Pause with your knees over, but not beyond, your toes. Take a look, can you see your toes? If not, push your butt back.
- Exhale and push back up to the starting position.
- SMILE and congratulate yourself on a job well done!
Once you get comfortable you can add jump squats, and overhead presses with your squat using a dumbbell.
Squats are generally safe, but keep in mind these safety tips.
- Only lower yourself as far as you can comfortably go. If you feel any discomfort stop and determine how low you can go without discomfort.
- Use your feet to provide you with a solid base. Most squat exercises with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart are generally a bit easier than a narrower stance.
- Keep your eyes looking forward. This will help you keep your neck in a neutral position. It’s OK to peek to see if your knees are in a good postion, but just a peek and then look forward.
- Keep your posture upright and your core engaged. Remember, use your proud chest and avoid rounding your shoulders. We have gotten so use to looking down to our smart phones or computer that we are beginning to turn into cashews. It’s important to keep you head in a neutral position as well.
Always consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new activity.
The bottom line and it’s all about YOUR bottom line
Developing strength and power in your bum or bottom (the largest muscle in your body) will help you with everyday activities and help prevent injuries. You can do them anywhere as they require no equipment, except your body. Try them when you are making coffee or tea. No one will even notice. What do you have to lose?
Want more information or adaptations that you can do? Reach out by going to my CONSULT page and asking for some ideas, happy to help.
What to join our 8-week challenge? Check out my Instagram page and follow along for the next 8 weeks.