Squatting is one of those exercises people love to hate. You can see huge progress from squatting and it's such a simple exercise, yet causes the biggest burn and inability to use any stairs for the days after. Squats not only help to build leg and glute muscle but they also help with balance, fat burning and removing waste. Done properly, they are such a brilliant exercise which not only form part of my weight training but also HIIT. I'm by no means a personal trainer, however I've done my fair share of squats and I'm going to explain how you can do some of my favourite movements.
The Basic Squat
This is where everyone begins, feet should be shoulder width apart. Make sure your entire body is facing straight forward, including your toes, knees and hips, keeping your abdominal muscles flexed. Bend your knees whilst sitting back, try not to let your knees go forward! Keep your back straight and shoulder blades pinched back, when your knees have reached 90 degrees stand up, making sure you don't lock the knees out at the top.
Same movement as a basic squat but when you reach the bottom of the squat bend your knees and jump up with all your force, raising your arms as you do so. As soon as your feet touch the ground, return to the squat position and repeat again. This variation is to be done super quick but not losing the form! It's a real burner on your thighs.
Think of a jumping jack but at the bottom of the jack you squat. When you jump out your legs and arms don't touch the ground but stay in the air, then return to the squat and power out and repeat. This is a real killer, I'd aim for 15-20 reps repeated 4 times.
If you really want to feel the burn try this one, in the normal squat position but at the bottom of the squat try pulsing for 8. I do this using a barbell which really works your butt! Try keep low at the bottom of the squat, the smaller the pulse the better!
For this squat have your legs further than hip distance apart, feet turned slightly out. Go to the bottom of a squat legs parallel to the ground and simply hold it. Make sure you chest is up and shoulder blades are back. I usually hold for around 30 seconds.
This is one I picked up from my Metafit class. You go down in a normal squat but jump your legs out together further than hip distance then return them back. The aim is not to jump your body up and down, the movement should be from the hip and you should have minimal movement. Possibly one of my favourite squats to do!
A difficult squat if you don't have great balance. Stand on one leg and then squat down, keeping your other leg extended in front of you. Repeat for four reps then swap legs.
There are so many other squat variations out there. I also like to use a bosu ball and a stepper to do jump squats or mix it up with a kettlebell but these variations are perfect to do anywhere with no equipment needed! You'll definitely be feeling the burn in no time. What are your favourite types of squats to do?