Get these bootylicious squat exercises right. By Li Yuling
Attending a fitness boot camp or following exercise videos on Youtube? Chances are the routine includes a squat. An essential move in many sports, the squat is a great move to strengthen your quads and sculpt your lower body. Squat exercises tone your butt and legs, but do it wrongly and you risk strain and injury on the knee joints and ligaments. Here’s how to correct your form.
1. The Squat
Work the abs, butt, hips and legs
To start, stand with legs slightly wider than hip-width apart. Toes should point forward as much as possible (turn them out slightly if pointing forward is uncomfortable). Pull shoulders back to open chest. With back straight, shift weight to heels and push hips back as if you are about to sit on chair. As you lower into squat, knees will bend and push forward. Make sure knees do not extend past toes. You may lift arms to shoulder height as you squat to improve balance.
How to Do the Squat Right
To do a squat properly, make sure that your knees don’t cave in, says Amirrudin Ong, a coach at Ritual Gym. Focus on keeping the toes pointing forward as much as possible without sacrificing comfort, and pay attention to how your knees move. They should push forward instead of inwards. Remember to hinge your hips and push the butt back when initiating the squat. Keep the weight on your heels throughout.
Note: If you can’t do this comfortably, grab a chair and practise the sitting movement. Watch your knees to make sure they do not turn in. Once you find the balance, try squatting without the chair.
Ritual ambassador Sarah Hodgens demonstrates the correct form and how to do a squat the right way:
2. The Squat Jump
Works the butt, hips and thighs, especially the hamstrings, quads and glutes
From the squat (above), push upwards explosively through legs off from ankles, knees and hips simultaneously. Try to land softly on mid-foot and roll back quickly towards heels. Push hips backwards and downwards (initiating squat) quickly to absorb impact forces of landing. Do not lock knees.
How to Do the Squat Jump Right
Some common mistakes when doing the squat jump include heavy landing on the toes or balls of your feet, insufficient bending of the knees, and not lowering into squat quickly enough upon landing, says Amirrudin.
To fix this, exercise control when you land. As you do so, enter quickly into a squat to reduce impact on the knees. Try the half squat jump to practise landing softly. Also make sure you are comfortable with the basic squat before progressing to this advanced strength and plyometric move. Sarah demonstrates how to do the squat jump right: