There are many benefits of squatting, squats build up muscles and strength to the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, they tone up your butt muscles, strengthen up your back muscles and help you maintain mobility and balance. So if you want to increase muscle mass and strength in all areas squatting is where I would start your strength training exercises. They can be done in the privacy of your own home.
Squats work several muscle groups, your quadriceps (“quads”), hamstrings, and gluteals (“glutes”)
There are many different varieties of squats, but here is the basic version. You can start with a chair, sitting down and standing up.
- Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees and knees over ankles.
- Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. It’s important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
- Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down. Or pull elbows close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing up.
- Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.
- While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead with a neutral spine.
- The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees (again, if you have the flexibility to do so comfortably). The goal when doing a squat is to have your hip crease below your knees when you’re in the down spot. When squatting shallow or above parallel, the knee is doing most of the work and absorbing the force. By squatting below parallel, the knees release the force and the leg muscles start doing the work instead.
- Engage core and, with body weight in the heels, explode back up to standing, driving through heels. Imagine the feet are spreading the floor (left foot to the left, right foot to the right) without actually moving the feet.
If you want to make your squats a little more intense, hold some 5 lb dumbbells in each hand.
Here is another method of a wall squat, this helps support the back if you have lower back problems, and putting a block between the thighs makes it a little harder.