The squat is a movement we use every day without thinking about it. Getting on and off the toilet or getting in and out of a car, both are good examples of squatting patterns. The squat is a fanatastic exercise to target both the gluteus maximus (bum) and the quadricep (thighs) muscles.

Free Squat

A simple yet effective way to learn how to squat is to start with a ‘free squat’. It requires no equipment and uses your own bodyweight as resistence.

How To

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, cross your arms over and raise them to shoulder height (pictured below).

Before you begint he descent inhale and gently draw your belly-button toward your spine to activate your TVA. Bend your knees and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as far as you comfortably can (pictured below). Keep your eyes on the horizon and your elbows up level with your shoulders. This assists in making sure that you maintain good postrue throughout the movement.

Exhale as you stand up again slowly and repeat the movement. Start by performing 1-2 sets of 15-20 repetitions using a 2-1-2 tempo (2 seconds on the descent with a 1 second pause and finally, a 2 second ascent). Build up to performing 2-3 sets of 20 repititions and then you are ready for the barbell squat!!

Barbell Squat

A more advanced version of the squat pattern the barbell squat adds extra loading to the movement.

How To

If you are using a squat rack ensure the barbell is the correct height (roughly level with the top part of your chest). Approach the barbell and move underneath so that the barbell (still racked) is resting on your upper trapezius. Slowly lift the bar off the rack and step back, keep your body upright and your feet shoulder-width apart (pictured below).

Before you start the descent activate your TVA by gently drawing your navel toward your spine. Squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as low as you comfortably can (pictured below). Keep your chest high and your eyes on the horizon at all times. Also ensure that your knees track the line of your toes to prevent and twisting within the knee joint.

On the ascent exhale forcefully as you stand up (imagine you are pushing the floor away from you) and repeat the movement. Start by performing the movement with a weight you can reach 15-20 repetitions with. Complete 1-2 sets using a 2-1-2 tempo and build to 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps.