Best Butt Exercise
How to Do the Perfect Squat
Do you want a Brazilian butt for the beach? Squat exercises are often called the king of exercises — and for a very good reason. Squats work the largest muscles in the human body, the thighs, and so they not only stimulate serious muscular gains in size and strength but also provide a systemic metabolic stimulation that seems to encourage even upper-body growth. When you do it correctly and in conjunction with a good nutrition plan – like my Real Food for Real Fat Loss plan, the squat is one of the most effective exercises for toning up the butt as the main muscles used are glutes (butt), hamstrings (back of legs) and quads (front of thigh).
It’s known as a compound exercise as it works more than one muscle group and it is also a multi-joint exercise (movement from hips and knees) so you can actually use heavier weights when squatting and thus using heavier weights will result in building nice lean muscle and improving your metabolism. So there are many benefits to performing squats.
Lets cut to the chase! Here are my pointers on how to perform a squat the right way without having to swallow any pain relievers!
For beginners it’s a great idea to put a chair behind you as this will instill confidence and provide a depth gauge.
- Start with your feet hip width apart, soft knees and brace your abdominals
- Now the first thing to move should be from the HIP JOINT and you want to imagine that you are sitting on a public toilet seat but you don’t want to touch the seat!!
- All the WEIGHT travels BACKWARDS. Think of it like putting the weight through the HEELS of your feet, you can even wiggle your toes!
Important cues to follow:
- Hinge from the hips
- Weight backward
- Neutral spine, slight arch (think of it as sticking your butt out!!)
- Keep shinbone (tibia) in an upright position
Keeping the above described form will reduce pressure on the knees, ankles or back and activate the glutes more.
- Leaning forward i.e. knees too much over toes
- Bending the back (flexion)
- Feet at a different angle than the knees
- Chair Squat – Great for beginners to get confidence up because the worse thing that could happen is that you just sit on the chair! Stand about a foot away from the chair, get a feel for it first and then get deeper (closer to the chair) as you get more confident.
- Plie Squat – This is a great progression for muscle balance as you can change the angle and work through a different range. Typically you will feel this a little more in the inner thigh (adductor) than the regular narrow squat. All you are doing is moving your feet outwards.
- Add Dumbells – This increases the intensity by adding weight; you can also change where you hold the dumbbells and this will challenge you in different ways. For instance – between the legs, resting on the thighs, above shoulders or across your chest.
- Add Barbell to Back – This does put a little more load onto your spine so be sure you are ready to progress to this and that you are practicing perfect form.
- Add Barbell to Front – This changes the centre of gravity and puts more focus onto the quads. Because the weight is now at shoulder height you want to start with a lighter weight than the barbell to back.
- With Stability Ball Down Wall – Creates an unstable base and forces abdominals to work differently. Can be a smoother motion and easier for those with back issues.
- Wall Sit – Similar to the last one but you just hold it at the bottom of the range. It’s good for strength endurance. Start by holding it here for 20 seconds then progress to 1 min or more.
- Smith Machine – Creates a safety net if you want to lift heavy weights and don’t have someone to spot you. You can lift heavier than the barbell as the machine takes some of the weight. Make sure you don’t go too deep or make it feel unnatural. You must have good balance and have perfected the other squats before you attempt this one.
- Single Leg Squat – Awesome for balancing out muscles especially if you are like most people and “right dominant” which means you use your right leg more than the left leg. This squat forces you to focus on one leg at a time. Start this near a bench or chair first and only go as deep as you are comfortable with or until you have perfected 10-12 repetitions, then you can go a little deeper.
- Squat Jumps – Putting a little more dynamic movement into the squat. Doing 10 of these will get your heart rate pumping! After a good warm up of course. Try not to look down and then up as you may find yourself a little dizzy- keep your head looking forward, and neck in neutral.
- Side to Side Squat – Great training for many sports where there is a need for increasing speed in change of direction. This will get your heart rate up and work your inner and outer thigh strength. If you are advanced you can even jump in the middle rather than step.
If you think of any other variations be sure to let me know!