Squat This!

When it comes to getting those legs toned and sexy and especially rounding out that rump, there’s no exercise better than a squat.

Unfortunately, squats are incredibly challenging for many of us and sometimes it feels like you would rather do any other exercise.

But the truth is that squats really do offer a total body workout and are definitely one of the most challenging exercises to master. Although they focus on your legs and glutes (butt), they also involve your lower back, your core and abdominal muscles, and even your upper back and shoulders depending on the type of resistance you apply.

And because they target your lower body and core, squats are an essential foundation exercise to include in your workout plan. Perfecting the squat will result in improvements on all levels, as your balance and stamina increase and you become more grounded.

10 Tips to Improve Your Squat Strength

Practice really makes perfect with the squat. The stronger you become, the more you’ll see improvements in all your fitness efforts.

Here are 10 tips to increase your strength and stamina when it comes to the squat…

1. Strengthen Your Lower Back – One of the biggest reasons people struggle with the squat is a weak lower back. If your lower back isn’t strong enough, you’re not going to get the most out of your squat, and you may get injured in the process.

An easy exercise for strengthening your lower back is the basic back extension. To view this exercise, click here.

2. Get Your Quads in Shape – Another muscle group that needs to be conditioned in order to support a strong squat is your quads. Make sure you’re exercising them on their own as well.

Use a leg extension machine to get your quads up to snuff. To view this exercise, click here.

3. Make Sure Your Form is in Check – Proper form is key to a stronger squat. Make sure your butt is out, your lower and upper back are aligned (don’t slouch forward), and your knees don’t extend past your toes. You should always be focusing on your form when it comes to the squat, no matter your fitness level. Stay focused, and don’t let your form slip.

The front dumbbell squat is a great exercise for beginners. To view this exercise, click here.

4. Warm Up adequately – The worst thing you can do is come into the gym and go straight for the squat rack.  Warm up with a light jog on the treadmill so your joints are prepared to move you smoothly through the motion of the squat.  You’ll also find that you will have greater range of motion and flexibility when your muscles are warmed up so don’t skip the warm up under any circumstances.

5. Do Squats Twice a Week – An easy way to get stronger with your squats is to do them twice a week. Either double up on your entire lower body workout, or include a bonus squat routine.

6. Constantly Challenge Yourself – To make serious improvements in strength, you’ve got to constantly challenge yourself. Increasing resistance is an easy solution.

If you haven’t moved past the dumbbell squat, it might be time. Try a barbell squat. To view this exercise, click here.

7. Try Paused Squats – This is a little more challenging, but you’ll totally see the results. Rather than lifting out of the squat as soon as you lower, try holding for 2 or 3 counts in the lowest position.

8. Add Some Balance Work – Adding balance work to your squats is a great way to strengthen your core muscles and improve your overall strength.

Try doing 2-3 sets of dumbbell squats on a bosu ball. To view this exercise, click here.

9. Stay Tight Throughout the Squat – In addition to focusing on overall form, you also want to make sure you don’t move through the squat too quickly. Make sure you move through the squat in control, keeping your muscles and joints tight and engaged.

10. Work Out Your Entire Body – Like all exercises, improving your total body fitness will lead to improvements on every level. Make sure you’re hitting every major muscle group at least once a week.

Find you need to boost your stamina and endurance? Try an energy-boosting pre-workout supplement like Essential Amino Energy. For a natural kick to your muscle recovery, you will find that an amino acid supplement like Optimum BCAA will also allow you to reduce soreness from these leg exercises.

Which one of these tips are you going to put into place right away? Please leave a comment below…