- Basic Squat
- Plié Squat
- Yoga Squat: Malasana
- Form is extremely important. If you cannot maintain proper form, stop the exercise and practice again. Your range of motion and form is far more important than the amount of weight-resistance used.
- Stand shoulder-width apart and keep feet flat on the floor.
- Descend by keeping your back flat and distribute your weight into your heels and gluts (behind) and hamstrings. For practice or balance, you can put your arms straight out and/or use a chair to slowly descend into a sitting position.
- As you descend, be sure your knees are not extending past the point of your toes and avoid your quadriceps muscles from moving inward; keep them parallel and locked.
- For form practice and intensity, ascend at a variety of speeds, including fast, but controlled speeds(1).
- Don't forget to breathe. Inhale on the descent. Exhale on the ascent.
- Warning symptoms for progressing too fast include back pain, knee pain, and other symptoms of over-training(1).
Now that you've got the basic squat down and understand the importance of form, here are two additional variations that will encourage muscle and mobility dynamics. I explain the benefits of each.
- Stand much wider than the basic squat with your toes pointed slightly outward. As pictured, you can vary the degree of your wide-stance based on your individual flexibility and comfort level.
- Lower yourself down and distribute the weight into your hamstrings, gluts (behind), and heels. This will help you to keep your back straight. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, rise up steadily and repeat.
- To increase resistance, you can hold a small amount of weight in front of your chest.
- Take the same wide stance as the plié with your toes pointed slightly outward.
- Slowly lower down and distribute the weight into your hamstrings, gluts (behind), and heels. Keep your back straight.
- At the point at which your thighs are parallel to the floor, lower even further until your gluts (behind) are slightly above the ground.
- You can choose to maintain this position for a few minutes and transition by lowering your bottom to the ground or to increase strength and power, come out of this position by pushing off of your heels into a standing position, plié stance maintained. Lower back into the Malasana squat and repeat.
As always, consult your doctor to get a medical clearance before you start this or any other type of workout.
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