While there are a few exercises that will help build strong shapely legs and a firm rounded bottom, none are more effective than the squat. Easy to perform once you learn the correct form, no gym or machines needed and you can begin with only your bodyweight as resistance.
While squatting may appear as simple as sitting in a chair then standing, it is actually a complex compound movement that requires thought and practice in order to be done safely and correctly.
Here are a few tips on how to make each squat more effective in toning your thighs and butt.
A properly performed squat requires hip flexibility and balance. Perform your squats in front of a full length mirror or with a partner to check your form. Keep your feet wider than shoulder width with your toes pointed slightly outward to target both glutes and thighs.
Ensure that your spine is upright with a very slight arch. Don’t slouch or bend your back which may cause injury. If performing body weight squats, relax your arms at your sides or cross them across your chest.
As you bend at the knee, lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause momentarily at the lowest point in the movement and squeeze your buttocks with each squat repetition. Your knees should not extend past your toes at any point in your squat. Perform deep and slow full squats as partial squats only work your knees and the thigh just above the knee and may cause injuries.
Adding resistance to squats can make it more challenging. After you become comfortable with bodyweight squats, use a pair of dumbbells or an empty barbell as resistance. When you begin to add weights to your routine, it’s a good idea to have a spotter especially when you begin adding heavier weights.
As you begin to lower yourself, take a slow deep breath and hold it until you rise once more to a standing position and exhale. Holding a deep breath during the lowering part of your squat as it locks everything in place and reinforces your diaphragm and core with added strength and rigidity.
As you perform your squats, keep your eyes locked straight ahead or on a spot on the ground about ten yards in front of you. Don’t look up at the ceiling or down at the ground to prevent curving your spine as you lower and raise your torso.
Squats are a simple and effective exercise that when done properly, you can target and build strong shapely thighs and buttocks. Make every squat count.