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The squat is a great exercise for toning a nice set of legs. In this blog post, you’ll learn how to squat from the bottom up. If you’re new to exercise, don’t feel comfortable or stable while squatting, or are a personal training client reading this as a review, you’ve come to the right place.

There are a lot of misconceptions about the squat in the fitness world. “Squat like a baby”, “Don’t let your knees go past your toes”, “Look up or you’ll fall forward”, etc. The problem with these tips is they’re blanket statements that don’t work for everyone.

Think about it.

Imagine yourself and some of your closest friends. You are all uniquely different with the way your bodies are shaped, and this simple fact can’t be ignored. Weight, height, shoe size, leg-length, hip-width, etc. Unless you have an identical twin (even then, it’s still likely you’ll squat different), your body will move differently compared to your friends. Because of this, at tone body fitness we learn how to squat from the bottom up!

Find Your Middle

The first step is to find your middle.

How To Perform This Exercise:

The goal of this exercise is to help you find the middle of your squat. This will help prevent your lower back from rounding while you squat.

Start by sitting on the edge of a bench or a low chair.

Begin “rolling” your hips back and forth slowly.

Roll back by thinking of excessively slouching and trying to make your lower back touch the bench.

Roll forward by thinking of sticking your chest out and and arching your lower back – the opposite of a slouch.

Your middle is some point between the extreme ends of these two positions.

Hold Tight

Once you’ve found your middle position, pretend like you’re wearing a corset and squeeze your abs tight. It’s important to keep your chest out while doing this to keep the muscles of your back tight so you don’t slouch on the way up. Squeeze tight and pretend you’re trying to break the laces of your imaginary corset.

Start Seated And Stand Tall

How To Perform This Exercise:

Sit in a comfortable position that you can stand from and be stable.

Squeeze your glutes tight, and pop your chest out high.

Pretend you’re wearing a wide belt across your stomach and squeeze your abs tight to “pop the buckle off”.

Stand as tall as you can, squeezing your glutes until you’re nice and straight.

Come back to starting position nice and slow.

Do it again.

If you wobble it’s a good sign you need to widen your stance a little bit and point your toes out slightly.

Avoid Using A “Swinging” Momentum

If you need to *swing* your body forward in an attempt to stand up, the seat is too high. It’s also a good sign you need to build more strength in your glutes. Try raising the platform using the elevated sit to stand technique.

How To Perform This Exercise:

Stack some 25lb weights on top of a bench to your desired height.

Sit in a comfortable position that you can stand from and be stable.

Squeeze your glutes tight, and pop your chest out high.

Pretend you’re wearing a wide belt across your stomach and squeeze your abs tight to “pop the buckle off”.

Stand as tall as you can, squeezing your glutes until you’re nice and straight.

Come back to starting position nice and slow.

Do it again.

If you wobble it’s a good sign you need to widen your stance a little bit and point your toes out slightly.

Another exercise progression you can use to strengthen your glutes is the hip thruster progression. You can find that in our blog post, Hip Thrusts & Glute Bridges: How To Do Them & 20+ Variations

Once you’ve mastered this technique without momentum, try “sitting without sitting” when you descend to the bottom of the squat. Picture a paper thin piece of air between you and the platform you’re sitting against. This will force you to tighten up, get stronger, tone your legs and prepare you for the next step:

Body Weight Squat

How To Perform This Exercise:

Start by standing tall, with your feet approximately should width apart and pointed out slightly.

With control, come down into the bottom of the squat.

On the way up, press the floor away from you through your heels, and squeeze your glutes tight.

Stand as tall as you can by pressing your hips forward and keeping your abs tight.

Repeat.

Once you’ve mastered the body weight squat, you can move on to more advanced squat exercises. The next two videos are examples some exercises you can practice next. You can also check out this list of exercises for a bigger butt.
Dumbbell Goblet Squat

How To Perform This Exercise:

Start by standing tall, with your feet approximately should width apart and pointed out slightly.

Hold a dumbbell tight on one end, with your palms supporting the other side and your fingers securing the dumbbell.

Keep your chest out, make like you’re squeezing your elbows together, without actually letting them move (This will tighten up your back muscles to support the weight).

With control, come down into the bottom of the squat.

On the way up, press the floor away from you through your heels, and squeeze your glutes tight.

Stand as tall as you can by pressing your hips forward and keeping your abs tight.

Do it again.

Landmine Squat

How To Perform This Exercise:

Start by standing tall, with your feet approximately should width apart and pointed out slightly.

Place a barbell in the corner of a room, or in the landmine attachment if your gym has one.

Hold the edge of the barbell with your palms together, and wrap your fingers around it to hold it tight.

Your hands should be approximately the same height as your collar bone, and a few inches away from your body.

Keep your chest out, make like you’re squeezing your elbows together, without actually letting them move (This will tighten up your back muscles to support the weight).

With control, come down into the bottom of the squat.

On the way up, press the floor away from you through your heels, and squeeze your glutes tight.

Stand as tall as you can by pressing your hips forward and keeping your abs tight.

Make sure at the top of the squat you’re not leaning forward into the bar. If this happens, take a small step back.

Do it again.

Try practicing squatting lower
Another way to make a squat more challenging is to increase the range of motion by squatting lower. This trick will help you learn to get deeper into your squat, and prevent your lower back from rounding. After setting up the weights described in this video, practice “finding your middle” again like we did earlier in this blog post.

How To Perform This Exercise:

Stack some 25lb weights on under your feet to your desired height depth.

Sit in a comfortable position that you can stand from and be stable.

Squeeze your glutes tight, and pop your chest out high.

Pretend you’re wearing a wide belt across your stomach and squeeze your abs tight to “pop the buckle off”.

Stand as tall as you can, squeezing your glutes until you’re nice and straight.

Come back to starting position nice and slow.

Do it again.

If you wobble it’s a good sign you need to widen your stance a little bit and point your toes out slightly. You’ll need to move the weights under your feet, too.

If your squat form is already good, and you don’t have any problems with your technique overall, you would do well with an online fitness coach. Online coaching is less about learning exercise technique, and more about the structure of your workout. Having a good structure will help you get the most results in the least amount of time.



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