December 19, 2008, Newsletter Issue #357: The Squat

Tip of the Week

One of the most advanced exercises one can do is the squat, utilizing almost every muscle in the lower body.  When done properly, very nice results can be seen as well as a great workout achieved.

First things first about the squat; always start in anatomical neutral posture.  That is where your feet are straight forward, directly beneath your hips, abs drawn in slightly, butt squeezed slightly, chest up, shoulders back, body standing nice and tall.  Just think of an Army/Navy/Marine/Air Force commercial and how they stand.  When you start in proper posture you will be more likely to do the exercise right, minimizing the chance that you might hurt yourself.  You'll also get more benefit calorie burn/muscle build wise.

When doing a squat, pretend you are sitting down onto a chair (if you want, put one behind you to start out, that's what I do with my clients).  As you sit, your first motion should be to bring you butt back.  Most people will bend their knees first, taking the work away from the glutes and putting it in the muscles surrounding the knee (which are not meant to take the pressure of the squat, more than likely causing knee pain). 

As you bring the butt back, make sure the feet are firmly on the floor and that the knees (as they begin to bend) are not going towards each other.  The knees should stay directly over the feet/toes.  Continue to slowly bring the butt back and look forward.  If you need to, bring your arms in front of you for balance.  Always squat slowly to get the most benefit out of the exercise; ending the motion once your legs are bent 90 degrees at the knee.   Also, if there is a mirror to the side of you, your lower legs and torso should be parallel.  Yes, parallel to one another (in the same plane).  At the bottom of the squat look to see if you have rounded your back or shoulders, and if so adjust so that your chest is again up.  Stand back up.

If you are thinking to yourself "Ha! Squats are easy - this tip is bogus!", then you are ridiculous.  Next time you do squats grab heavy weights, holding them in each hand.  You will never again think squats are easy.  For people that are curious about if they truly are doing them properly, ask a friend or Personal Trainer to watch as you perform the motion.  Just practice the motion or use light hand weights when learning this exercise.


About LifeTips

Now one of the top on-line publishers in the world, LifeTips offers tips to millions of monthly visitors. Our mission mission is to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Expert writers earn dough for what they know. And exclusive sponsors in each niche topic help us make-it-all happen.

Not finding the advice and tips you need on this Exercise Tip Site? Request a Tip Now!

Guru Spotlight
Nicholas Frank