PERFORMING SQUATS PROPERLY
While some critics accuse squats of being destructive to the knees, research has shown that when performed correctly, squats can actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue. So how do you master the art of squatting?
1. Warm up (bodyweight squats are fine, or any of your favourite cardio exercises to get your heart rate up and your muscles ready).
2. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart (can vary feet width to target different muscles).
3. Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centred over your feet.
4. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle ensuring that you ‘sit back’ like you would on a chair.
5. Return to starting position — repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week).
6. Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position.
BASIC SQUATS TECHNIQUE:
Tip: Make sure you don’t let your knees go forward past your toes. Go down by pushing your butt out. Keep your chest out and your head up also to help prevent any injuries. If your hips are tight and restrict the depth of your squat, place two small wedges under your heels to help elevate and relieve discomfort.
ADDING SQUATS TO YOUR FITNESS ROUTINE
Like most things in life, finding the right balance is the key. Rather than place too much focus on cardio or strength training, be sure to adopt a multi-faceted routine that fosters optimum health. Incorporate aerobics, strength training, stretching and high-intensity interval training. For beginners, experts recommend doing two to three sets of squats, two or three times a week. Any more and you’ll be depriving the body of much needed recovery time. The key is to put together a bespoke workout routine that works for you, listen to your body and allow it to guide you on a path that creates measurable and lasting benefits.
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