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How to do bodyweight squats


One of the best exercises that you can ever do is the good old bodyweight squats for a lot of repetitions. They help build muscle, endurance and burn fat in record time. And in my opinion learning to squat your own bodyweight is a basic movement that all human beings MUST learn to be able to do unless they have some injury that prohibits it. It is often very correctly said that you can get a great workout by doing a lot of bodyweight squats and no other exercise if you are short of time. So lets learn more about this fabulous exercise.



Benefits of bodyweight squats

  • Build muscle- One of the best exercises to build those lower body muscles. Your quads, hams, and calves will benefit from this exercise and look a lot thicker and harder
  • Burns fat- doing a lot of bodyweight squats especially after your weight workout will help boost your metabolism enough to help you burn a ton of calories and lose unwanted bodyfat. You will shape your legs much better with this exercise than you can with those silly leg extensions
  • Builds lung power- as simple as this exercise may look the fact is that it works your lungs hard and builds a great deal of lung power when you do a lot of reps. A great option for cardio for those who hate running



Position:
  • Start with feet slightly wider or about shoulder width apart
  • Turn the feet out slightly
  • Back straight 



Movement:

I personally start this exercise with beginners by making them do bench squats. I find that this makes it easy for most beginners to learn the form better and do it safely. Below is a video demonstrating the bench squat version-





  • Start by inhaling and simply pushing your hips back and sitting on the bench while keeping your chest out and shoulders back
  • Go down in a controlled manner. You do not have to be slow but maintain control and try not to sit down too hard
  • Get up while breathing out and push with your heels

Once you have got the form down with the bench version, up next is the regular bodyweight squat. First the video demonstration-





  • Same start as the bench version
  • Go down as low as you can comfortably while keeping your lower back as straight as possible
  • Maintain control and avoid bouncing at the bottom position
  • Get up once again by pushing with your heels and do not let your heels get up from the ground

Common errors

  • Letting your knees come in when descending or getting up. Correct them keeping the knees on top of the toes
  • Letting your knees go way ahead beyond the toes. Your knees may go a bit ahead of the toes, but do not let them go too far ahead to avoid putting too much strain on your knees
  • Letting the heels come up when going down. To get the most from this exercise learn to push from your heels and not your toes. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground when you go down and up 
  • Letting your back round too much. Try to keep your back as upright as possible and straight to avoid hurting your lower back

What about the hands? Should they be by the side, up infront of you, behind the head, swing them as do the squats? To be honest you can keep your hands wherever you feel comfortable. If that means keeping them by side, then do it. If that means keeping the fists under your chin, then do it. The key is to ensure that it is comfortable.




Important tip: One of the main reasons why I like to begin with the bench squats is that it helps teach the importance of pushing your hips back to begin and trying to sit back when doing squats rather than trying to initiate the movement by bending the knees forward. So keep in mind that you should begin by imagining that you are sitting on to a bench or chair that is behind you rather than try to start by bending your knees

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