For a full bodyweight squat you want to put your arms straight out in front of you and make sure they are parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position during the entire exercise. You do not want to round your back while making sure you do not hyper extend and over accentuate the natural arch of your back. You could strain your back and cause serious injury, especially if you decide to add weights to the squats exercise.
Most of your weight will be on the heels and balls of your feet (imagine you are glued to the ground). To know if you are doing this part of the exercise correctly, you want to make sure you are distributing your weight to the right places. You should be able to wiggle your toes during the entire exercise.
To get the most out of the squat exercise, make sure you are keeping your whole body tight the entire time. Here are a few steps to help us breakdown squats:
- Bend at your hips and push your butt backwards. While your hips continue going backwards make sure your knees begin to bend. It’s important to be conscious about starting with your hips going back and not by bending your knees.
- Keep your back straight and a neutral spine the entire length of your squat. You want to keep your chest and shoulders up. A good way to maintain the correct form, is to look straight ahead and find a spot or object on the wall to concentrate on; this will help with your balance as well.
- Now squat down, focusing on keeping your knees in line with your feet the whole time. You don’t want your knees to start to go over your toes, if they do bring them in but make sure to have your knees no wider than your feet.
- Squat down as far down as you can go while maintaining correct form or until your hip joint is lower than your knees (which would be parallel to the ground.) This part of the exercise you want to be focusing on your hip joint, not your legs. Remember depending on the size of your thighs, your squat may look as if you have reached your uttermost depth. I promise you can go deeper than this. But anything less than parallel is a going to be only a partial squat.
- Once you get to the bottom, it’s time to go back up and repeat. You have completed a full bodyweight squat.
A few tips when doing a full bodyweight squat…
- Keep everything nice and tight, take a deep breath in and breathe out putting your weight and pressure on your heels while keeping the balls of your feet on the ground the whole time.
- If you want to tone your butt, make sure to squeeze your butt when you return to your starting position.
- To get the most out of the squat exercise, keep your body and core tight the entire time. It is very important to get your form down when starting. Especially because you will want to start adding weights to your squats to challenge yourself.
- Do not get discouraged when you first start. Everyone is different, so our squats won’t look exactly the same. For example, someone with a longer femur, will squat slightly different than someone with a shorter femur, starting with their range of motion. So if your squat looks different than the person next to you, it doesn’t mean you are doing it wrong!
- For more information, you can also check out “Do squats really work?”