Squats-My Favorite. The squat is one of my favorite exercises because they keep the booty up and prevent the dreaded gravity drop!
The squat comes in many variations and can be mixed with other moves too, but the first thing that you need to do is get the form right because you need to activate the correct muscles to get the true benefits of a squat. The perfect squat will trim your thighs and tone your glutes, but first you need to get the right “stance” with feet forward and hip width apart, second “align” your back from your head to your tailbone and pull in your belly, third “engage” by pressing your feet into the floor engaging your glute, quad and hamstring muscles and finally “breathe” correctly through the move by inhaling when you lower your body and exhale coming up!
The most common mistakes are leaning forward, heels lifting off the floor, knees bowing inward or outward, the feet turning out, your knees should never come down and over your toes. You can do a home check to see if you have any of these imbalances. Stand facing a mirror, barefoot with your feet hip width apart, toes forward, be sure to follow the four steps above, squat and rise up a few times, now try this from a side view also, you can place a chair behind you if needed. Do you notice any of the listed imbalances in your form? If you do it is important to correct those imbalances before you proceed to full sets and weight bearing squats because these mistakes in your form can lead to frustration when you are not seeing results and potential injury.
I recommend that if you are not sure of your form when exercising to hire a personal trainer for a few “form recognition” sessions, they are cost effective and a great way to learn the right way to exercise, motivate you to reach your goals and get the most out of all areas of your fitness lifestyle, from one on one personal training, working out on your own to group classes!
Photo Credit: WomensHealthMagazine