Squats for Beginners
I say it all the time: “Squats are not bad for you – Bad squats are bad for you.”
We are squatting all day long, during our activities of daily living as well as during our participation in recreational sports. Yes, many people experience joint discomfort when squatting, but more often than not this is due to weak muscles and improper squatting mechanics.
The stronger the muscles are that support our joints, the better. The joints will be more stable. You will experience less dysfunction and discomfort. Performing proper squats can actually decrease your chance of injury and help improve your sports performance.
Like any exercise, the key to squats is to do them correctly. This applies to both how you do them, namely with good form, and how you progress them, moving from the basic squat to the more advanced versions at the appropriate time.
Just learning how to do a squat? Here are some tips to get you started:
The key components to doing a squat correctly that are demonstrated in this video are:
- Take a wide stance (about shoulder-width apart).
- Put your hands out in front of you for balance.
- Sit back as if you are sitting in a chair, keeping your feet flat on the ground and your knees behind your toes.
- As you are sitting back, keep your chest up and your head looking forward.
When you are first starting off with squats, do 1–3 sets with 10 reps in each set and 30–60 seconds rest in between, and really concentrate on doing the form correctly. As you build strength in your legs, you can add sets or more reps to each set.