The squat

The best exercise to train thighs and buttocks

The squat is probably the best exercise to tone and strengthen the muscles of the lower limbs. The simplicity of the movement is such that we perform it, unconsciously, every time we sit and lift from a chair.

The correct execution of the squat requires a large synergy between numerous muscle groups, each of which relaxes and contracts in specific phases of the movement. This exercise also requires good joint mobility, often completely inadequate in sedentary or deconditioned people. Also for this reason the squat is often considered the main responsible for injuries to the knees and the lower back. Although the danger of suffering these unpleasant incidents is well founded, it is enough to adopt simple preventive measures to see it decrease significantly. After all, it is rather rare for a person to be injured while trying to get up from a chair!

The stresses that the squat exerts on joints, bones and tendons, if well calibrated, are also the fundamental prerequisite for an adaptation that will strengthen them, ensuring greater efficiency in movements and significantly reducing the risk of injuries.

A bit like the squat medicines, it is therefore an extraordinarily effective exercise, which brings enormous benefits while having minimal side effects.

Learn the correct technique of execution

It doesn't matter whether you are a bodybuilder, a dancer or just a person who wants to keep fit, if you want to significantly improve the strength and tone of your lower limbs, you must learn to perform this exercise in total safety!

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Remember that for a safer and more effective squat it is important to respect the following execution technique:

  • place the barbell on the rack at a height of about ten centimeters lower than the shoulders
  • grasp the rod with a slightly wider grip than the shoulders and with the palms of the hands facing forward
  • pass with the head under the bar and bring the shoulders in contact with the rod (central part of the trapezium), the shoulder blades must be kept adducted (slightly tighten the shoulders)
  • check with the aid of the mirror that the center of the barbell is positioned at the same distance from the two shoulders
  • contract the abdominals and push with the legs upwards so as to detach the barbell from the supports
  • slowly take a step backwards approaching the safety devices (if present)
  • place the heels at a width slightly greater than that of the shoulders, taking care to rotate the toes outwards by about 30 °
  • move the pelvis back a little while stretching the femoral muscles; slowly bend your legs downwards, without letting yourself fall but keeping your muscles in tension and avoiding sideways movements of your knees
  • descend until the thighs are parallel to the ground or, if you prefer, until the hip joint is at the same height as the knee
  • if your heels come off the ground during the descent or you feel serious balance problems, go back to the initial position and put away the barbell: you are not yet ready to perform the exercise
  • during movement the back should be kept as straight as possible, avoiding arching but being careful not to lean backwards
  • shortly before reaching the maximum flexion position, begin to slow down the movement by preparing yourself for the ascent
  • once this position is reached, push firmly on the heels straightening the legs but without fully extending the knees
  • during the ascent the musculature of the thighs must be actively contracted so that the lower limbs do not perform dangerous oscillatory movements.
  • repeat several times

If you are not well trained and it is one of the first times you perform the squat:

  • rely on a qualified personal trainer to assist you during the execution of the movement
  • if you have a swiss ball available, compress it between the lower back and the wall trying to perform the exercise keeping your feet 20-30 cm further forward than the pelvis
  • when you are ready start the squat with natural load (without overloading), then gradually move on to the dumbbells and finally to the barbell