How perfect is this image? I found it after I wrote yesterday’s post, and was amazed at how well it fit. Anyway, on to the how to.
Apparently I’ve been doing squats all wrong.
My trainer took one look at my form and said, “Oh yeah. I can tell you run.”
“Really? How?” I asked.
“When you squat your knees come pretty far in front of your feet, which means your quadriceps are doing most of the work. Because they’re stronger.”
Once he explained what quadriceps are, we were back on the same page. Now I’m doing squats leaning against a big inflated ball on the wall to keep my knees behind my feet and strengthen whatever muscles are along the back of my thighs. Trainer Kenny promises strengthening this muscle will keep my knees from popping out of place when I run. So I’m in. Plus, squats are a full-body exercise. If you do them correctly you engage your core and you work your arms while strengthening your legs. I hate them, they suck to do, but man, do they work. So here are the do’s and don’ts of doing a squat, according to Trainer Kenny.
- Start with your feet a little wider than hip-width.
- Slowly lower yourself down into a sitting position, aiming for a 90° angle in your knees at your lowest point.
- Stick your butt out as you sink down, keeping your back straight and core engaged as you lean over. (I told Kenny this was very unladylike, and is still hard for me to come to grips with, mentally.)
- Keep your knees even with your toes at your lowest point.
- If your knees stick out too far, you might not be sticking your butt out far enough. Alternately, you can use an exercise ball propped against a wall and start with your feet further in front of you and roll yourself down like I do.
- Slowly raise yourself back to a standing position.
- Do a set of ten good squats, and add another set each day.
- As an added option, raise your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height as you lower yourself to add resistance training to your arm muscles.
- No slouching or back rounding.
- Don’t go further than a 90° angle. You risk knee injury if you do.
- Don’t let your knees extend much over your toes. Again, knee injury can ensue.
- No major angles on your feet. Your toes should be pointed more or less forward.
No one needs to see a picture of me doing a squat, so how about a nice drawing with the muscles you’ll be working highlighted instead?
And in case you’re wondering what it looks like, here’s a squat using a ball.
Am I the only one who has been doing squats incorrectly? Do you have any go-to moves for building strength?