The last bodyweight exercise we discussed was Push-ups, now we’re moving to a lower body exercise that can be done without weights, without a gym, and without any special equipment. The Squat exercise mainly targets the thighs (quadriceps & hamstrings) and the glutes. Additionally, Squats work on your core strength & stability, ankle mobility, back muscles, and calves.
There are some real factors to be aware of when doing squats particularly to protect your knees. You’ll notice the picture on the far left shows her with her upper back straight and her knees in front of her toes, this form is WRONG. The picture on the right shows CORRECT form. As if she were sitting back onto a chair (without the chair of course!), her knees are on top of her toes and her upper back is still straight, just slightly angled in order to push the glutes back. Squats, when done right, can improve your balance and stability, and can be modified even if you’re not in great shape or have a hard time exercising.
Practical steps for doing a squat:
- Pointing your toes slightly outwards helps some, but keeping them parallel is fine, too. Start by putting your feet shoulder-width apart and pointed about 15 degrees outwards.
- Tense your abs like someone is about to punch you.
- Look straight ahead and keep your upper back straight, don’t slump!
- Lower your body as much as you can while keeping your knees on top of your toes, then push up!