One of the exercises I love are squats, they are one of the exercises everyone must include in some form in their workout routine – and> I do enjoy the challenge of them on leg day BUT I also hate them.  I find them extremely tough and> have had one or two issues with them in the past!

So you probably hear a lot about squats, and> how great they are, there is always someone doing them in the gym so why are they so good?  Well first they work nearly every muscle in your body – or almost all – primarily they work the legs and> glutes but your core also gets a work out and> if your adding weight to your squats you could also argue you are getting an upper body workout in too.  However great they are, as with all exercises it is important to get your technique right and> ensure you are not doing damage to your back or knees when performing this exercise.  Some pointers to get you started are:

  • Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outward (only a small turn out).
  • As you lower ensure you are pushing your hips backward, and> knees do not go forward of the toes, pressure should be through your heels. Heels should not come off the floor!
  • Ensure your back is straight – keep your chest up and> out, this should help keep your back in the correct alignment.  Also ensure you keep your head up – do not look at the floor! Try picking a spot on the wall and> keep your eyes on that spot – this should help keep your head and> neck in the correct position.
  • As you squat aim to get parallel or below to get the full benefits of squats, you will hear the phrase “ass to grass” when it comes to squats but don’t worry too much about this as it can be dangerous – try and> aim for just below parallel.
  • Inhale as you go down and> exhale as you push up.

*I would recommend checking your technique with an instructor or personal trainer in your gym as these are only pointers to help out and> technique is so so important – you got to get it right!*

My squatting journey only began fairly recently, when I decided to venture into the free weights area of the gym I work at and> learnt how to use the squat racks (before this I did some body weight squats, or with dumbbells or kettle bells but not the barbell weighted squats I know do).  I love squats for all their benefits but as mentioned in the title I do have a love-hate relationship with them.  I find them really challenging – which is a good thing but anything that is hard work is mentally challenging, and> I had a bad experience when squatting once which still haunts me!  Luckily I was working out with one of the other Personal Trainers from the gym when this happened as without her I could have been in some serious trouble, as our maths skills proved to be very poor!  I am currently squatting around 30kg, but at the time I was only on around 25kg, but with our maths skills called into use, we stupidly added around made a bar with a weight of around 50kg!  I went down into the squat and> basically I get stuck, no way I was getting back up – my legs were shaking and> panic set in but as mentioned there was someone with me who removed the bar and> I came out of the experience with little more than a dent in my pride, but because of this I no longer squat by myself (even with the safety bars) and> still feel a little scared when I step up to the bar!!

Squats are a must on any leg day, and> I really focus on squats when training my legs.  I have increased from just the bar (20kg) to 30kg over the past couple of months, but I am really trying to increase this.  When adding weight do so slowly and> still ensure you have the correct technique and> can get to parallel or below.  I have upped my weight by around 2.5kg at each workout (weekly) but am currently stuck on 30kg and> struggling to get past this.  I will keep working on it, as I can really see the improvements in my glutes and> legs and> want to keep seeing these improvements.  It is a challenge but so worth it, so what are you waiting for get squatting!!