Different Ways to Squat
Squats are a great way to sculpt your lower body and give you that shapely behind. Squats also burn a lot of calories and since they work primarily the glutes, quads and to some extent, the hamstrings, they help in making activities of daily living much better. There are endless ways to perform a squat. Here are six of the ones I perceive as being the best, since I am a Brentwood, MO personal trainer.
1. Basic Squat
Start by standing in the beginning squat position with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, neck straight, and abs tight. Hold your arms out in front of you—straight with palms facing down, bent at the elbows. Or do our favorite arm move: the Aladdin arm cross. Whichever you do, don't put your hands on your legs. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself down until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push your bottom backward, as if you were sitting on a chair. Don't worry too much about letting your knees go forward over your toes. It's a popular myth, but depending on your limb length, flexibility and hip joints, your knees may naturally go over your feet as you squat. As long as it doesn't hurt, you're OK. Return to standing.
2. Single-Leg Squat
Got a dominant leg? It's OK, we all do! Focusing your squat on one leg at a time can help even out muscular imbalances. Start in the beginning squat position. Lift your left leg up, bending the knee slightly to get your foot off the ground. You can hold your raised foot slightly in front or behind you depending on whatever feels more steady. Using only your right leg, lower yourself down as far as is comfortable. Return upright. Try not to put your left foot down between reps; you can use a wall or chair for support if needed. Repeat on the other side, no one wants their biscuits to be unbalanced!
3. Squat Pulses
Perform a basic squat, but instead of returning to standing, stay in the lowest part of your squat with your thighs parallel to the ground and move up and down, keeping the movement small (a few inches up or down) and fast.
4. Chair Squat
Nope, we're not giving you permission to sit on a chair and take five. Stand with your feet and legs together. Sit backward and down, pushing your hips out behind you. Lift your arms as high as you can, taking care not to let your chest drop. You can return to standing and repeat the squat, or for more of a challenge, hold it.
5. Sumo Squat
Floor-stomping, 12,000-calorie meals, and lots of grunting: Why should Sumo wrestlers have all the fun? Try this variation of the traditional sumo stance by standing with your legs wide, toes pointed slightly outward. Push your hips back and bend your knees, squatting until your thighs are in line with your knees. Return to standing or pulse at the bottom of the movement. We'll leave the outfit up to you.
6. Curtsy Squat
Stand with your feet hip width apart and hands on hips. Move your right foot behind your left leg, as far past your left foot as is comfortable. Using a "curtsy" motion, squat down. Keep your weight in the front leg. Return to standing.