They’re called the king of exercises, and with very good reason. Squats are a full-body, compound movement, working your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, while also sneakily strengthening your core. Plus, to paraphrase Bey, if you like it then you should put some weight on it. They’ll help you with balance as much as they do with your booty and with bone density (once you add weight), so they’re basically amazing, and you should really be doing them right.
A foundational movement, we’ve been squatting since we were babies and, before the advent of the modern-day furniture and loos, our entire lives really. Still, it's never too late to (re)learn this essential move. We got Zoe and Naresh from Studio 60 to show us how we should be squatting.
1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles.
2. Roll your shoulders back and down away from the ears. Allowing your back to round strains your lower back, which is why it is important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.
3. Put your hands together, elbows close to the body.
4. Start by slightly bringing your hips back and then keep sending them backwards as your knees start to bend. It’s important that you start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.
5. While your bottom goes back and out, make sure your chest and shoulders stay upright and your back stays straight (no turtle backs!). Keep your head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.
6. Go as deep as your mobility allows. Your optimal squat depth is your hips sinking below your knees. Make sure your knees don’t buckle inwards, and if you’re not comfortable with this yet, squat onto a box until you work out that range of movement for yourself.
7. Always engage your core and, with your body weight in your heels and toes, push back up to standing, driving through your heels. Imagine your feet pushing the floor down, but without actually moving your feet.