Squats are a common exercise that trainers everywhere prescribe to their clients and that fitness instructors incorporate into their programs. The squat is a core exercise that builds strength in your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and abdominals.
Although this exercise is done ubiquitously, performing it properly can be a complex task due to different factors including a person’s ankle mobility, core strength, stability, and personal body mechanics.
I enjoy performing barbell squats (back squats), a great core and calorie-burning exercise. A speaker at a fitness conference I attended said that this exercise was able to generate six-pack abs in his clients, no ab crunches needed! Over the past several months, due to a variety of reasons, I had to take a step back from barbell squats to reassess my form in order to improve my squat performance. One way I've done this is to incorporate into my workouts bodyweight squats using a resistance band.
A common issue that people have when performing squats is the knees caving inward. If you think this is what ails you, performing squats with a resistance band can help you keep your knees from pronating and help you maintain good form. Here's how to use a resistance band:
- Place the band around your thighs just above your knees.
- Start the exercises in a standing position, feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Engage your core, inhale and push your hips back, bend at your knees, and keep your chest lifted. (Note: think about maintaining a flat back).
- Go as low as your body will allow while maintaining your form.
- Exhale as you squeeze your glutes to get back into standing position.
For an extra challenge, try walking band squats. While you’re in the squat position, take three steps to the right then three steps to the left and repeat for 30 seconds. The trick is to maintain the squat form and not move your upper body while you shift your weight right and left.
As I mentioned before, the squat is a common exercise but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to perform. I’m always working on achieving the squat form that would make people envious. If you're looking to improve your squats and lower body strength, I hope adding a resistance band to your squat routine will make people say, "now that girl can squaaaat!". This is your girl signing off...