There is no question that the full squat is an essential primal movement, and yet many people in modern, industrialized society are unable to perform one properly. Children have a good squat shape (just watch them play), but their parents are stiff at the hips with rounded backs and tight knee joints.
Many more have learned – from health experts and personal trainers – that the full squat is dangerous, that it wears down your knees and makes you unable to perform normal activities. They say half a squat is perfectly sufficient, or better yet, get rid of the squat altogether and use the leg extension machine! (Not really.)
Ignore these “experts”. Squatting is a natural movement that humans are built for. You don’t have to use a lot of weight (or anything else!), But you do need to be mobile and flexible enough to get a full squat below the parallel.
What do squats do?
Squats serve a variety of practical purposes: they can help you get into a resting position, they are a good starting form for lifting, and they exercise the muscles of the lower body. A proper squat attacks and exercises a variety of muscles such as the quadriceps, abs, glutes, calves, hamstrings, and hip flexors. When done correctly, squatting can increase bone density, a key element in aging well.
How to do a squat
Stand with a comfortable posture. Most prefer it if their feet are a little wider than shoulder width and the toes are slightly sloping. Lower yourself by reaching back with your bum while maintaining a strong lower back. Keep your knees aligned with your toes and toes on the floor.
Chest high, upper back firm, eyes forward and slightly downward, head in a neutral position. Maintain a nice continuous line along your spine. Go just below the parallel so that your butt falls below your knees. Come back by pushing through your heel.
Correct air squat form
Air squats, also known as body weight squats, can take the strain off the knees, yet offer a ton of benefits. Learn, modify, and perfect your squats over time using three squats. If you are already comfortable with the movement, but your squats are causing knee cavities, lower back pain, or hip joint pain, your form may need further improvement. Follow the video or these three advances to get your squat in shape.
Squat Progression 1: Use an Assist
Find supportive support, e.g. B. a wall, a pole, a pole or the back of a chair – anything that is sturdy and about navel height. With your feet shoulder-width apart, come into a neutral position, bend your knees and explore your freedom of movement. The goal is to get 20 to 30 of these assisted squats before moving on to Progression 2.
Squat Progression 2: No one-point assist
Use a box or bench to act as a “spotter” while you work on your full squat shape. In a sitting position, pull your arms out in front of you. Keep your knees in line with your toes and keep your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. At the lowest point of your squat, your thighs should be parallel to the floor or the floor.
Squat Progression 3: You are alone
Remove the bench to move into a full squat. Go as deep as you can and push up through your heels, not your toes. You have now reached the shape of a squat!
Squat Variations and How to Do Squats at Home Without Bars
If you’re at home without a bar, targeting specific muscles, or setting your squat for injury or other skills, then you should consider some of these squat variations. For more detailed instructions on perfecting these variations, see this article:
- Mug squats
- Front squats
- Band Zercher crouches
- Bulgarian squats
- Split squats of the resistance band
- Walking Lunges and Reverse Lunges
- Tempo squat jumps
How many squats should i do?
If you are a complete beginner, you can nail down the shape first by just squatting your body weight. For 10-15 reps, focus on your mechanics, 3 to 4 sets each. If this feels too easy, instead of just doing tons of pointless repetitions, slow the pace and add a rest at the bottom of the squat. Once you are proficient, you can start adding weight.
A good general starting point for any workout is three to four “hard” sets – warm-up sets don’t count. A hard set is a rep or two away from not being able to do another rep with the same consistently good form. Plan for three hard sentences and try the fourth.
For the number of repetitions, eight to ten repetitions are a good range for those looking to build muscle. Three to four reps can be helpful in getting stronger, but not necessarily bigger. Divide the difference by four to seven for a bit of both. Find the number of repetitions that works best for you. For a few days after your workout, expect your legs to be a little sore. If you’re not sore at all, you probably haven’t done enough to trigger a training response, but if you can’t walk properly for a week, you’ve probably done too much.
How much should I be able to squat?
As a starting goal, everyone should be able to squat their own body weight regardless of their age. If you’re not there yet, that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It just means you haven’t trained that muscle group yet. You will be surprised how quickly you can get a body weight squat.
When you start adding weight to the bar, you are putting your own body weight to set the standard. First, try loading your own body weight onto the bar as a beginner goal. Then go for 1.5 times body weight, with 2 times body weight being a good long-term benchmark to strive for.
About the author
Mark Sisson is the founder of Marks Daily Apple, godfather of the Primal Food and Lifestyle movement, and the New York Times best-selling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, which describes how he combines the keto diet with an original lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is also the author of numerous other books, including The Primal Blueprint, which is credited with the growth of the Primal / Paleo movement in 2009. After three decades of researching and educating people about why food is the key component in achieving optimal wellbeing, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real food company, the Primal / Paleo, Keto and Whole30 friendly kitchen staples manufactures.
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