How To Do Squats Correctly to better tone your thighs and buttocks. The squat is a complex exercise, especially when we talk about squats with weights, and it is important to learn the correct technique of execution.
It is defined as the “King” of the exercises because it allows you to firm up and tone completely legs and buttocks and at the same time strengthen the abdomen and back.
The squat is, therefore, one of the best exercises for women who want firm legs and buttocks. In this article, we will see all the tips on how to do a squat with the correct technique, at home, and in the gym, taking into account that there are many variations of squats, including:
- Bulgarian squat
- Squat with dumbbells
- Barbell back squat
- Full back squat
- The multipower squat
- Bodyweight squat
How Are Squats Done?
The correct technique of the execution of the squat is not universal, but it depends on the individual. This is even more true if you squat with weights, which is by no means for everyone.
Training the squat in the gym at random, without first learning the correct execution, increases the risk of injuries and decreases the effectiveness of the training.
Squat: Correct Starting Position
The starting position of the squat includes:
- Place the feet slightly wider than the shoulders and the tips of the feet slightly open (extra-rotated) outwards;
- Breathe in slowly and send the air into your belly;
- Open the chest, keeping the shoulder blades relaxed;
- Point your gaze and, therefore, your head slightly downwards, as if you were looking at a flower a few meters in front of you;
- Slightly over-extend (without over-extending) your back, sending your butt back.
Squat: How Is The Descent Phase Performed?
Once you have reached the starting position you can begin the descent phase, that is the squat:
- Keeping the curvature of the back neutral, you begin to descend in a controlled way;
- Ideally, on the descent, you should feel your body weight in the center of the foot;
- As you descend, you should think about opening your knees outwards;
- It is advisable to reach a depth such that the neutral curvature is maintained or slightly lost. Gradually over time, you will be able to go lower and lower without losing the curvature.
- The long-term goal should be to make at least one in parallel. Even better under the parallel, to stimulate the hamstrings in co-contraction, including the buttocks.
Squat: How Is The Ascent Phase Performed?
Once you get to the ground, you have to go back up keeping the exact same attitude you used in the descent. To understand if you are climbing correctly you can pay attention to where you feel the weight of the body, which ideally should be in the center of the foot.
What Are The 7 Most Common Mistakes When Squatting?
The most common mistakes when performing the squat are the following:
- Over-extending the back too much is overstraining;
- Begin the movement by immediately sending the knees forward and not using the pelvis instead;
- Send the knees inward;
- Flex the back losing the neutral curvature that allows the back to withstand high loads;
- Lift your heels off the ground;
- Stiffening and hyperextending the neck;
- Rise first with your legs, lifting your butt, and then with your back.
What Are The Benefits Of A Correct Squat?
A correct squat has multiple benefits. In particular, it allows you to:
- Activate thighs and buttocks correctly;
- Reduce to a minimum the risk of injury to the back, maintaining the latter in a neutral position;
- Strengthen the bones and joints, increasing bone mineral density;
- Improve the mobility of the pelvis and ankles.
In summary, the greatest benefits of the squat are the strengthening of many muscle groups at the same time and the mobilization of many joints at the same time.
Risks And Problems When Performing The Squat
In Bodybuilding we will not find irreplaceable exercises, certainly, some will be more effective than others, but never irreplaceable.
It is useless to get stuck on an exercise that is not for us when it presents us with too many problems, as can happen precisely in the case of the squat.
The squat is an “elitist” exercise and it is absolutely not for everyone as to approach it is mandatory to do it in total safety in all respects.
Here are the main problems encountered during a squat:
- back problems of all kinds
- difficulty in maintaining the lumbar curve in physiology under load
- femurs too long in proportion to the height that force us to throw the torso excessively forward
- poor mobility of the ankle joint
- the two preceding points require us to “compensate” us with the other articular links of the chain concerned
- valgus in the ankles
- valgus or varus knee
- excessively “short” musculature (primarily the hamstrings) prevent a fluid squat that reaches the required depth
- poor motor coordination, not up to the technical gesture
Why Is The Correct Squat Technique Not The Same For Everyone?
The truth is that each of us, while following the basic biomechanics of movements, has some peculiarities that make it unique, such as the conformation of the acetabulum, the length of the levers, and many other characteristics that must be taken into account to build one. custom-made squats.
The squat in Powerlifting is a “codified” exercise that means it imposes a uniformity of execution in order to have parameters to be able to judge the performance of the various athletes impartially.
In Bodybuilding this problem does not arise in fact there is “the Squat from PL” but not “the Squat from BB”, consequently – returning to the previous discourse – subjects predisposed to this type of squat will have to have the forethought and skill to sew on themselves the executive modality that makes us enjoy the maximum result with the minimum risk.
What muscles does the squat train?
At the anatomical level during a squat with a barbell we can note:
- an extension of the femur over the tibia (quadriceps muscles)
- hip extension over the femur (hamstring muscles and gluteus Maximus)
- a synergy between hip adduction and abduction (adductor muscles and gluteus maximus, minor and middle)
- an extension of the ankle joint (calf muscles)
- a high static component for core stability (abdominal and paravertebral muscles)
The squat is unquestionably one of the exercises that most fully involve the muscles of the thighs and buttocks, but not only, affecting the entire posterior extensor chain (gluteus maximus, hamstrings, calves, and spinal erectors), quadriceps, adductors, and abductors up to the abdomen which guarantees global stability during the lift.
Going into more detail, we can state that the selective stimulation of the different muscles of the thighs depends on the type of execution adopted.
Although there are a thousand nuances of this exercise, we can summarize them by dividing them into two macro-categories:
- Knee-dominant squat: most popular execution in BodyBuilding, it plans to keep the torso quite vertical throughout the range of movement, and consequently, the tibia and knee will be brought forward, this determines a greater activation of the quadriceps to the detriment of the kinetic chain rear. This type of execution is adopted – in a completely involuntary and natural way – even by subjects with a low center of gravity and/or very short femurs.
- Hip-dominant squat: typical of Powerlifters, it involves a very wide excursion with the hip joint and consequently, the torso will be inclined very forward at the deepest point; at the same time the tibia will always assume a rather vertical position, this determines a great activation of the posterior kinetic chain and therefore great emphasis on the buttocks and hamstrings to the detriment of the quadriceps. In addition to the PL, this execution is typical of subjects with very long femurs in proportion to height (high center of gravity). It goes without saying that this method of execution will also impose greater stress on the lumbar area.
How Deep Does The Squat Have To Be To Train The Buttocks?
With a view to complete training for the development of the buttock in women, the squat should be alternated with other exercises.
First of all the Hip Thrust, which works with the knee bent, emphasizes the work of the buttock. Even lunges (or lateral lunges) are an excellent exercise, as a climb on a step or a bench.
All hip flexion and extension movements are great when we are looking for the best exercises for the glutes, besides the squat.
As previously said in Bodybuilding there is no uniformity of the technical gesture of the Squat as it must be sewn according to subjective needs and to one’s joint problems.
One of the most important variables that we notice in the executions of the various Squats is precisely the depth with which the squat is performed: the interesting thing is that there is no correct or wrong execution, but it must be contextualized in relation to the muscular stimulus that we want to generate, consequently the same execution could be correct for one person and at the same time wrong for another.
We start from the concept that maximum stretch during a multi-joint exercise often transfers tension to another link in the affected motor chain.
This explains why we see many Bodybuilders (even world-level PROs) who are mistakenly judged unable to perform a squat with weights as they only perform “half squat”: simply a complete squat would transfer the tension on the buttocks and hamstrings going to lose it on the quadriceps, so during the descent, they will break and reverse the movement before the quadriceps transfer the tension to the hamstrings and buttocks.
Conversely, if you are a beginner or intermediate and your priority is not to work specifically the muscle detail but rather to obtain an activation as global as possible, you can very well opt for a deep squat or at least below the parallel, in this way you will have a local involvement of all the muscles of the thighs.
Bodyweight Home Squats And Dumbbell Squats
Many girls and women who don’t go to the gym can try squatting at home, perhaps with dumbbells or without weights. Not being able to use adequate overload to make the exercise profitable, we recommend two variants.
The first is a Tabata squat that is:
- 20 ″ squat
- 10 ″ recovery
For 8-12 series or 4-6 ‘of total work. It is important to try to get parallel and do as many squats as possible. The really strong girls are able to perform 20 in 20 “, the ideal would be to reach at least 10 repetitions.
Another workout to do with the squat at home is to use 10 “for each repetition, go down in 4”, stop low for 2 “and go up in 4”. In this way, we can try to antivertere pelvis trying to focus our work on the buttock.
These are all gimmicks to make squatting more difficult when we don’t have a barbell available and we find ourselves training at home.
Squats: How To Do Squat Variations?
There are a lot of variations of squats. In this last part we will see all the existing types of squats:
Front Squat: How Do You Do It?
The first variant that must be mentioned is certainly the version with a front rocker, the Front Squat.
When approaching the front squat, the first problem you encounter is certainly the “joint” of the barbell on the collarbones, the so-called Olympic grip is certainly the best but imposes high stress on the shoulder and wrist joint while the one from BBer with crossed hands it will offer us less stability than the barbell itself: here too maximum customization!
The barbell held in the frontal position will change the center of mass guaranteeing us a more vertical posture with the torso throughout the range of movement and consequently, also the muscle activation will be different when compared to the “Back Squat”: we will have a better involvement of the quadriceps and less involvement of the lumbar area, on the other hand, we must say that the forces on the hamstring will be greater in this version.
Given the postural advantage described above, the Front Squat is suitable for tall subjects or in any case with a rather high center of gravity.
Hack Squat: How To Do It Correctly?
The Hack Squat is a machine that allows us to perform a squat in a completely guided and constrained way: unlike the other variants in this one, the pelvis is not free to move in space and consequently, we will be constrained on three points or the feet, pelvis, and collarbones.
This particularity obviously has advantages and disadvantages, as always. Among the advantages we find greater isolation of the quadriceps muscle, moreover being precisely constrained allows us to work even safely with the back and if we wanted to pull an “All-Out” series as a finisher, the choice of a Hack Squat is certainly more consistent than one.
Among the disadvantages, we can note that these constraints almost completely inhibit the co-contraction of the femoral and therefore the tension on the hamstring will be very high.
Given its nature, the hack squat is more suited to moderate loads and TUT protracted for medium-long times rather than focusing exclusively on the load.
Multipower Squat Advantages And Disadvantages
On the Multipower Squat – or Smith machine, as you prefer – we have heard of all kinds, up to the two extremes such as “the Multipower Squat cuts your joints with its cutting forces” or “it is better than the free one in how much safer being guided”.
Now not being an article on biomechanics we will not be the ones to tell you which of the two is more truthful, check it out on the most authoritative texts and draw conclusions.
We can say, however, that it has the advantage of being able to slightly vary the execution of a Squat without necessarily having to replicate it in a very faithful way to that performed with a free barbell, for example, it can guarantee us a greater verticality with the torso or it can allow us a width of the feet slightly tighter than we could do in the Free Squat, in order to localize the muscle tension in the bundles that most affect.
I also specify that the execution should not be completely distorted compared to the free squat, if we move too far from what is our “physiological” posture and execution it is natural that we will encounter negative shear forces and joint stressors!
Sissy Squat: How To Do It Properly?
The Sissy Squat is nothing more than a monoarticular Squat that pivots on the knee joint while the hip one will be practically stationary
In practice, we create a Leg extension “on the contrary” in which the fixed point (tibia) and the mobile torso (femurs and torso) will be inverted.
The exercise is completely on the quadriceps creating an excellent stimulus in stretching, while the hamstrings and buttocks will be inhibited, as well as statically involving the hip flexors such as the rectus femoris and the ileus psoas that allow us to maintain posture with the torso.
By imposing an inhibition of the posterior extensor chain, the Sissy Squat places a heavy burden on the knee joint, therefore we recommend that it be performed only for non-symptomatic subjects and in any case never as a first exercise but with the tendon already very warm.
Sumo Squat: The Squat With Legs Apart
The Sumo Squat is nothing more than a Squat performed with an extremization of the stance of the feet, going to widen them beyond what would be natural, recalling the position adopted by the wrestlers from which the exercise itself takes its name.
This variant is widely used in female training as at the point of maximum depth it allows us a greater elongation and consequently a better activation of the adductor muscles.
The Bulgarian squat falls into the category of exercises defined as “split squats” in which we have one leg in front of us that goes to perform the movement and one behind us that serves to provide us with balance and stability.
In summary, there are many types of squats, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
The correct technique for performing a squat therefore depends on the goal, the type of squat, and the individual.