Squats! If we don't love them, then we should!
They are often referred to as the best lower body exercise, but they can also be the most dangerous if not performed correctly.
Here’s my top tips for correct technique and strong squats. (Remember by strong, I don't mean heavy!)
1. Look straight ahead Where you look actually impacts more than what you see! When squatting you want to maintain a neutral arch in your spine, that means looking directly forward. Looking up creates a curve in your spine, placing extra pressure on your back, increasing your risk of injury and actually making you lift less then you’re capable of. Look straight ahead throughout the whole rep. Maintaining eye contact with yourself in the mirror is a good way to stay looking forward. Keep your head in that position for the duration of the rep. 2. Get low. For maximal quad development, you need to squat low—at least to a point at which your thighs are parallel to the floor with about a 90-degree knee bend. The deeper you go, the more your glutes and hamstrings have to work. Shallow squats means your only doing partial reps, so don’t expect big results. My number one squat rule, leave the ego at home and lift light to squat low! Correct technique trumps heavy weights every time! If it helps, put a bench behind you and squat till you just touch it with your butt. Then aim for even lower!! 3. Lean back. As you squat, your knees should not pass over your toes. This places far too much pressure on your knee joints. Sit back into your squat as you lower yourself. Focus on getting your butt to the ground, not your knees. 4. Hold your exhale. It may sound strange but breathing timing is very important when lifting. To get the most power out of your squats, you want to hold your breath until you reach a point near the top of the movement. This increases the intra-abdominal pressure, making you stronger as you push up. Exhale forcefully near the top of the rep for that last burst of power. Happy squatting!