A classic squat is one of the core exercises that almost anyone can do with relative ease. So long as you have strong enough knees, you’re going to be able to perform some kind of squat, and anything that you can do is going to help work out the majority of your lower body.
Squats genuinely work out so many different muscles, like your abs, thighs, and butt. Not only do they build strength in these areas but they also tone. So doing about 100 squats a day can significantly improve your muscle tone as well as build your stamina.
One of the best things about squats however is their versatility. Although they work well enough just doing a classic body-weight squat, if you’re wanting to give yourself more of a challenge, then there are loads of variations that you can try.
For example, you could do a jump squat, pistol squat, or add weights to the occasion. Or, if you’re really wanting to take your workout up to the next level, you could try one-legged squats.
One-Legged Squat Benefits
Adding one-legged squats to your training program is one of the best ways to develop strength, balance, and coordination. This exercise can also help to reduce the pain of runner’s knee or patellofemoral pain syndrome - which is a specific pain that you might feel in your kneecaps.
This particular exercise can help to develop stability, and core strength, as well as improve your overall fitness. It is an effective way to tone your legs, glutes, and abs. This is an ideal exercise for athletes of all sports and skill levels, but it is particularly good for runners.
This is because one-legged squats target the same muscles used for running: the hips, quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and calves.
It should be noted that a one-legged squat might sound somewhat simple on paper but is in fact pretty intermediate. It requires a lot of balance and core strength to be able to pull off properly, as well as a solid understanding of form and technique when it comes to performing squats.
However, if you’re able to master them you’ll find that they make a really effective core workout because it demands so much in terms of posture and support.
How To Squat Safely
Although performing a one-legged squat might sound a touch intimidating, you probably already know how to do a classic squat. Performing a squat might sound easy enough, but that simplicity is often where people go wrong.
Sometimes, if your form or technique is wrong enough, you can end up doing some serious damage to your knees or back, and so in order to ensure that you’re able to keep squatting for years to come, here is the proper technique:
In order to perform a squat properly and safely, you need to stand with your feet slightly wider than the width of your hips and toes pointing slightly outwards.
Tighten your abs, push your chest out, hold your head up and then shift your weight to the back of your heels as you move your hips backward and down.
Then you need to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with the floor and repeat. As you continue to lower and raise, be sure that you keep your back, chest, and head in the correct position.
And to ensure that you’re breathing properly whilst doing your squats, you want to inhale on the way down, and exhale on the way back up.
How To Do A One-Legged Squat
Once you’re confident enough to drop one leg out of the equation, this is the way to perform a one-legged squat.
If you’re struggling to maintain the right posture, or you want to make sure that you’re doing it properly, you could perform these squats in front of a mirror to keep an eye on yourself. Then, as you become more comfortable, you’ll be able to move away from the mirror.
First of all, you need to stand on one leg with your foot pointing straight ahead and the knee of the other leg slightly bent.
If you need to for balance, you can extend your arms, or you can keep them down by your side. It might be helpful when you’re first starting out to do this near a counter or bar that you’ll be able to grab a hold of if you happen to lose your balance.
Roll your shoulders back and keep your back nice and straight. You need to keep your weight centered over the ball of your foot and your upper body erect - your head facing forward and tilted slightly up.
Then, when you’re ready, raise the non-supporting foot from the floor and lower yourself into a squat position, keeping the knee of the supporting leg centered over the ball of your foot. When first starting out, just practice with shallow squats and gradually work your way closer to the ground.
Repeat for 10 squats on each leg, making sure that you keep alternating after every set. You want to aim for three sets on each leg. Then as you feel yourself getting stronger you’ll be able to increase the number of sets that you’re able to do each workout.
Things To Keep In Mind
There are some common mistakes that you’ll want to try to avoid so that you can get the most out of your workout without causing yourself any undue pain. For example, you need to ensure that you do not extend your knee beyond your toes. You want to be sending your hips back rather than your knees forward as you squat.
You also want to make sure that you keep your shoulders and chest open, rather than rounding them. A tight and straight core will give you a much better sense of balance and improve the workout for your core and abdominal muscles.
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