Squats are one of the best all-round workouts you can do, as they work your quads, calves, hamstrings and glutes in a single motion. However, it is also very easy to do a squat incorrectly, resulting in lower returns and an ineffective workout. Here’s how to do a standard squat, as well as a few squat variants if you wish to toughen up a bit more.
Stand holding two dumbbells at your sides at arm’s length, your feet shoulder-width apart. Pull your shoulder blades back.
Bend your knees and lower your body as if you were sitting back into a chair. Stop when the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. The object is to keep your lower back in its naturally arched alignment and your knees from moving forward past your toes. Return to the starting position.
Take a wide stance (about twice shoulder-width) and point your toes outward at 10 and 2 o’clock. Pick up a heavy dumbbell, and hold one end at arm’s length with both hands on the inner part of the upper weight plate so it points to the floor between your legs. Pull your shoulder blades back and lift your torso up.
Bend your knees and descend until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Pause, then return to the starting position. Make sure your knees point in the same direction as your toes throughout the movement.
Grab two dumbbells and let them hang at your sides as you place one foot about 3 feet in front of the other, toes facing forward. Your front foot should be flat on the floor, but only the ball of your back foot should touch the ground. To help your balance, align your feet with their corresponding buttocks, not with each other.
Bend both knees and lower your body until the top of your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your rear knee almost touches the floor. Keep your torso erect throughout, and don’t let your front knee move past your toes as you descend. (If it does, move your front foot farther forward.) Pause, then return to the starting position.