Squats are an overall physique builder. “They strengthen and develop the lower body and core,” says Augustine Lee, Men’s Health Muscle Guy and a personal trainer at Fitness Factory (www.fitnessfactory.com.sg). “Because of the concentration needed to execute them properly, and also due to the exertion they place on the spine, squats can help stimulate the nervous system as well as promote the release of testosterone and growth hormones,” he adds.
Exercise: Barbell squats
WORKS: Primary muscles – quadriceps, gluteus maximus and hamstrings. Secondary muscles – abdominals, back extensors, adductors and gluteus minimus and medius.
WHAT YOU’RE DOING WRONG:
You’re starting the movement by bending your knees instead of pushing your hips back.
PERFECT YOUR FORM:
1 “Sit back between your legs, not on top of your knees,” says Dan John, a US-based strength coach. Start your squats by pushing your hips back. “Most men tend to bend their knees first, which puts more stress on their joints. And ensure your back is upright at all times when executing the exercise,” he adds.
2 “When you squat, imagine you’re standing on a paper towel,” says US-based sports director Charlie Weingroff. “Then try to rip the towel apart by pressing your feet hard into the floor and outwards.” This activates your glutes, which help you use heavier weights.
3 “Instead of raising your body, think about pushing the floor away from your body,” says US-based fitness instructor Alwyn Cosgrove. “This helps you better engage the muscles in your legs.”
POSTURE: Adopt an upright posture at all times when executing the exercise.
FEET: Press through your heels as you stand, and avoid shifting your weight to your toes.