It’s the last impression as you walk out of the room, but (excuse the pun) more importantly our glutes are a power muscle for day to day movement in almost everything we do. So making our bottoms look good is great, but helping them do what they should — which is to get us upstairs, over mountains, and jumping for joy — our derrière should be ready, willing, and able to do all. The squat is a do-it-a-home move that will add to your current workout or help you begin a new one.
The squat is a great lower body exercise using the gluteal muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, and lower legs. There are several muscles activated in the squat and using a mindful approach and proper form, you will effectively active the glute muscles. Your upper body is also involved and should not be forgotten. Proper breathing and consciously controlling your upper body alignment is important in your overall form.
I like the squat because it is a functional movement and one we do several times a day. It is also pleasing to turn around in the mirror and see a happy face smiling back!
- Hold on to the side of a table, counter top, or heavy chair. Be sure it is stable and it will support you if needed. Hands are shoulder distance apart.
- Your grip should be secure but loose – I call this the piano fingers grip.
- Distance your feet about one to two inches wider than your hips.
- Toes pointing forward, knees lined up with the center toe. Weight in over your heels.
- Chest up, shoulders down, pull your abdomen in toward your center and look straight ahead.
- Inhale: sit BACK and sit down until your rear end is at the same level as your knees. Be sure to keep your weight toward your heels and out of your toes.
- Exhale: squeeze your glutes (your buttock muscles) and lift until standing tall.
- Repeat 15 repetitions / 3 sets. In between the sets, throw in a few Planks from my May 2016 exercise.
- Be mindful to keep your piano fingers light, weight in your heels, and consciously squeeze your glute muscles. The quadriceps are the front upper leg muscle and are powerful. In an attempt to help, the quads will take over if you don’t consciously activate your glutes – so fire away and squeeze!
- If you feel discomfort in your knees be sure your weight is firmly toward the back of your foot. Begin with squatting so that the end movement is at or above your hip bend. Once you build up more strength, you’ll be able to go lower.
- Discomfort in your back – don’t go down as far and be sure you are breathing a deep exhale to assist your core muscles.
And like I always say; If you don’t squeeze your bottom, nobody else will!
If you feel any pain or discomfort, consult your personal physician.
If you have any medical concerns, please be sure to always check with your primary physician before performing any exercises.