It's your FAVOURITE lower body exercise: THE SQUAT! Scroll down to learn the PROPER SQUAT FORM and to learn ALL THE MUSCLES in this exercise!
Come on and stand up! Let's do a PERFECT SQUAT together!
1. Start with your feet SHOULDER-WIDTH apart. All muscles should be relaxed.
2. Your back should be as FLAT as possible. (In other words, keep that spine aligned! No hunching over or leaning back.)
3. Pretend you're about to SIT IN A CHAIR as you go down into a squat. Focus on your hips, not your knees!
4. The position of your ARMS and HANDS should help keep you balanced.
5. Make sure your back stays FLAT the whole time! Think about your hips and butt as you move your body.
6. Focus on the BUTT as you go back up. This is how you activate the GLUTEUS MAXIMUS muscle!
LET'S TALK ABOUT THE PRIME MUSCLES IN A SQUAT. The squat is an incredible lower body exercise because it works ALL the major muscle groups of the lower body! The squat is a HIP exercise, so it's important to concentrate on the HIPS (not the knees!) when doing this exercise.
Your primary HIP FLEXOR is a muscle called ILIOPSOAS. When you reach the down position of a squat, you are primarily working the ILIOPSOAS.
I think we all know the GLUTEUS MAXIMUS plays a huge role in the squat... The GLUTEUS MAXIMUS is a HIP EXTENSOR muscle and does the complete opposite of the ILIOPSOAS. When you stand back up from a squat, you are primarily working the GLUTEUS MAXIMUS.
The hamstrings (KNEE FLEXORS) and quadriceps (KNEE EXTENSORS) are what are called Consequential Muscle Movements, because in order to do a squat, these muscles HAVE to activate (unless you can figure out how to squat without bending your knees....). While these muscles ARE active, they are NOT the focus of the squat! But it's good to acknowledge them a bit - the Hamstrings Muscles DO posteriorly cross over both the HIP and KNEE joints, so they also do HIP EXTENSION with the Gluteus Maximus....but their PRIME ACTION would be KNEE FLEXION since the Gluteus Maximus is a much stronger hip extensor. The Rectus Femoris, one of the muscles that make up the Quadriceps, DO anteriorly cross the HIP joint, so they also do HIP FLEXION with the Iliopsoas Muscle.....but their PRIME ACTION would be KNEE EXTENSION since the majority of the Quadriceps only anteriorly cross over the knee joint.
In addition to Hip Flexion and Extension, and Knee Flexion and Extension, the Squat also involves the HIP ABDUCTORS and the HIP ADDUCTORS. "Abduction" means to movement AWAY from the body and "Adduction" means to movement TOWARDS from the body. In a squat, the PRIME MUSCLES of HIP ABDUCTION are the Gluteus Medius, Gluteus Minimus and the Tensor Fasciae Latae. The PRIME MUSCLES of HIP ADDUCTION are part of a group called the "Hip Adductor Group," which involves the muscles, Adductor Brevis, Adductor Longus, Adductor Magnus, Gracilis, and the Pectineus.
Just remember that the squat is a HIP EXERCISE. When you perform a squat, you should be concentrating on the HIPS.
HIPS! HIPS! HIPS!
Stay tuned for variations of the classic Squat exercise! If you still need any help in doing this exercise or would like to learn more about it, contact DANCE CUBE on the COACHING page!