A squat, done correctly, works all the major muscle groups of your lower body. This exercise engages your core and works your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. If you’re new to squats, try doing them with your bodyweight only until you master the move.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips and your toes pointed slightly out. Place hands on your hips or hold them in front of you and engage your abdominal muscles. Keeping your head up and your back straight, lower your body by bending your hips and knees, like you’re going to sit down in a chair. Shift your weight to your heels. Don’t let your knees extend beyond your toes. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor, your heels begin to raise, or your back begins to round. Return to the starting position and repeat. Raise your arms overhead to add difficulty.
This exercise is often done with weights. To add dumbbells, choose a weight that will add difficulty, but not one so heavy you can’t maintain good form. In the starting position, holding one dumbbell in each hand, raise the dumbbells to rest on or just in front of your shoulders. Engage your core and perform the squat, maintaining a straight back and lowering yourself by bending your knees and hips, and following the instructions above.
Another variation is to do a one-legged squat. Rest one leg behind you on a bench or a stair and perform the squat with or without weights.
April 10, 2015
Janet O’Dell, RN