Completing the Squat*

Monday, 16 April 2018, By James Selke

TECHNIQUE IN EXERCISE

SQUATS

TARGETED MUSCLES:

MUSCLE

FUNCTION

Quadriceps

Extension of the leg - Straightening out your leg

Hamstrings

Flexion of the leg - Curling your leg back

Gluteus Maximus

Extension of the hip - Movement of pushing the hips forward in order to stand up straight.

 

WHY SQUAT?

When executed correctly, squats are one of the most functional movements you can do. They are used in day-to-day life when we stand up from the desk/couch. They also strengthen your whole body from your legs (front and back) all the way up to your core and upper torso. As it is such a fundamental exercise, it is crucial that you get it right from the get-go in order to prevent any injuries from occurring.

SQUARING UP THE MOVEMENT

Through our day-to-day lives and various occupations (whether it involves mostly sitting or standing), many of us may have a pelvic tilt to one side or the other without even knowing it. This is why it's critical to adjust this before we complete any exercises.

Here are some basic steps that may help when completing the squat:

 

THE SET UP

  • Make sure you are square on in the mirror and not on an angle. You can do this by placing a straight stick/broom handle on the floor in front of you.
  • Line your feet up so that your feet are slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes on both feet are touching the stick.
  • Turn your feet outwards slightly.

 

THE MOVEMENT

  • Pick up the stick from the floor and hold it against your knees. Holding the half-squat position (90-degree bend at the knees), glance down at your feet. You should see the same number of toes on each foot coming out in front of the bar. Adjust accordingly by squeezing your left or right glute more than the other.
  • Once comfortable with this, hold the bar against your hips and repeat the same adjustments until you are comfortable with the half-squat position. Be sure to monitor all movements in the mirror.
  • Place the bar across the back of your shoulders and complete the whole squatting movement while focusing the weight of the movement on the heels.

 

PROGRESSIONS

Once you are comfortable with the stick across your back, you can then start to add more weight to the movement, provided that it does not limit the depth at which you squatted at the beginning. Here are some progressions from the base upwards:

  • Squatting with dumbbells in either hand down by your sides
  • Goblet squat with a singular dumbbell held at your chest
  • Barbell squat with just the bar weight(20kg) to start with
  • Add more weight accordingly

 

*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.

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