You probably already know that squats are one of the best exercises for multiple muscle groups – working the hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings and core. Amie Forster explains how to get the most out of this exercise and shares her favourite variations on the traditional squat.
Let’s get started with the regular, basic squat. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your toes pointing slightly outwards. Start the squat by moving your hips backwards and bending your hips and knees to begin to lower yourself. The upper body (torso) and shins should stay vertical throughout the whole process to keep your back aligned.
Sumo squats require you to stand with your feet in a wide stance with your toes turned out. This alternative foot positioning means the muscles emphasized are different to the ones emphasized during a regular squat. The sumo puts more emphasis on the inner thigh adductors, which move your legs towards your body. This type of squat also uses your core strength for balance. The stronger your core, the better your balance and body alignment will be.
Jump squats are a great plyometric move that are used a lot in HIIT sessions as they quickly increase your heart rate. Like the regular squat, keep your feet shoulder width apart and toes facing slightly out. The difference with these is you add in a jump as you come out of the squat. When you land, repeat! Again, make sure good form and correct alignment is kept throughout the exercise to avoid injury.
Also known as Bulgarian Squats, these are one of my favourite and least favourite exercises at the same time! They are a one legged squat with one leg placed behind you on a bench. When doing these make sure the front foot is placed in a position where your knee isn’t going over your toes and your back foot stays below the knee when lowering.
No equipment required, go squat crazy!