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How to Do Squats

Are You Sure You're Doing Squats Correctly?

Love them or loathe them, squats are one of the most effective exercises you can do. It's very important, however, that you do them just right to maximize effectiveness and prevent injury.

Squats are also highly versatile: you can do them anywhere — even while brushing your teeth. Multitask by adding bicep curls and other moves to make them harder.

Here's a primer on how exactly to do the perfect squat.

  1. Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
  2. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. You can also bend the elbows or clasp the fingers.
  3. Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
  4. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels.
  5. Keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.

Start with three sets of 10 squats, and then add more reps (12, 15) as you get used to the motion. It's definitely awkward at first, so don't expect to master the squat right away. Focus on your form, and then worry about adding reps.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography
atticus007 atticus007 4 years
The squat is a fantastic and safe exercise but the role of the knees is often misunderstood. The leg width is wide enough to allow your lower body to pass your legs. This is the natural way to squat, just like a toddler does. Normally slighty wider than your shoulders. Toes point slightly outwards. The knees travel in the same direction as the toes. Go down as far as you can until the top of thigh is a least parallel with the floor. The knees can pass the front of the toe but not significantly past. All depends on how long your limbs are really, we are all different. I would not push through the heels but tend to gip with the floor slight with the toes this keeps your well grounded.
kclulu kclulu 7 years
I agree with amybdk, the models toes appear to go past her knees which is against any squat advice I have ever heard. The written advice is sound but the picture is contradictary.
amybdk amybdk 7 years
Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible, with your knees over your ankles. Press your weight back into your heels That's what I thought - that your legs weren't supposed to go over a 90-degree angle. Is it "safe" to have the knees past your toes (like the model)?
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