Do you realize that you squat all the time in your everyday life? You squat when you sit down on a couch, chair, or toilet. And you should be squatting when you bend over to pick something up, versus bending from the waist, which could hurt your back. Learning to squat correctly and adding this exercise to your workouts and everyday activities will help you stay flexible, strong, and free from injuries. And most importantly, squats will help you build a nice booty! 😏
Why Are Squats So Important?
When I coached CrossFit, the squat was one of the first fundamental movements that I would teach every client. I would tell clients to never stop squatting, even if they quit CrossFit. It’s just that important!
The bodyweight squat, or air squat, is one of the best exercise movements that you can do. It is essential to human movement and well-being. The squat can greatly improve your athletic ability and keep your hips, back, and knees sound and functioning now and as you age. When done correctly, squats engage your entire body.
You may have heard that squatting is bad for the knees, especially if you do full squats (where the thighs are below parallel to the floor). But if you do the movement correctly, full squats are more beneficial and can actually be rehabilitative for damaged or delicate knees.
What Are the Benefits Of Squats?
Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat. They strengthen the back, core, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and inner thighs. Squats also help you burn extra calories by increasing the heart rate and burn more fat as you build more muscle. That is a lot for one movement!
Working on your squats will increase your balance, mobility, and flexibility, because you need some basic hip, ankle, and torso control to do the movement correctly. This will help you be less prone to injuries and enhance exercise performance so you will be able to run faster and jump higher. Doing squats will improve your performance in whatever sports or activities you like to do and make everyday activities easier.
Read even more benefits of doing squats here.
How Do I Do an Air Squat Correctly?
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes slightly turned out.
- Keep your head and chest up and look forward.
- Keep your core very tight. Don’t over-accentuate the arch of your back, pull it in with your abs.
- Lift your arms up and begin by pushing your butt back and down.
- Your knees should track over the line of the foot and should NOT come forward over the toes.
- Use your thighs to push your knees outward. Don’t let the knees roll inside the line of your foot.
- Keep your weight on your heels and stay off the balls of your feet.
- Stop when the fold of your hip is below your knee. Try to break parallel with your thigh.
- Don’t let your lumbar curve surrender as you settle into the bottom.
- Return on the exact same path as you descended and stand up straight at the top.Try doing 15-20 reps of 2-3 sets for beginners. Do this three to four times a week alone or add them to your fitness routine.
Sometimes due to weakness in the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, or quads, your squats can be off balance or your knees can cave in. Work on squatting onto a box or into a chair until you gain some strength and stability.
Air squats are rather involved. If you feel like you are not doing them correctly or if something is hurting while doing them, check your form in a mirror or have a trainer watch you. It is important to do the squat correctly so that you will not injure yourself and you can get the full benefit of the movement. Once you have learned to do an air squat correctly, you can then start adding weight and doing back squats, front squats, and overhead squats.
Your Fitness Rx: Start squatting to improve your fitness and make everyday activities easier. For beginners, try doing 2–3 sets of 15–20 reps. Do this 3–4 times a week alone or add them to your fitness routine. You can even add them to your warm-up so you can get them in during each workout.