How to do a proper squat to get a toned lower body

How to do a proper squat to get a toned lower body

Squats will not only get your hips and thighs in shape but will also build muscle and strengthen your bone and connective tissue throughout your lower body.

Written by Nirmalya Dutta |Updated : February 2, 2015 11:40 AM IST

The squat is a very effective exercise to build strength in your lower body and get them in shape. When you do it by placing a weighted barbell on your shoulders, it targets the muscles of your thighs, hips, buttocks, quads and hamstrings. It also engages your lower back, upper back, abs, shoulders, and arms making it the most complete exercise of them all! This exercise not only builds your muscles but also strengthens your bones and connective tissue throughout the lower body. Squats support the knees and ankles while supporting the ligaments and tendons. You can also do the squat without any external weight. Doing squat also helps you maintain balance as you get older. Here are some tips to do a bodyweight squat (without any external weights) like a boss. You may also want to read how to do lunges to tone your thighs and hips.

  • Get warmed up with some stretching and a bit of cardio.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart
  • Try and keep your feet as straight and parallel as possible. It s okay if your feet are turned outwards slightly but it shouldn t be more than 15 degrees.
  • Keeping your arms straight out, lower yourself by bending the knees while sticking out your bottom and leaning forward at the waist (imagine you are going to sit on a chair).
  • Squat till your thighs are parallel to the ground and then return to original position
  • Always keep looking ahead and make sure your knees don t drift forward over your toes and always keep aligned to your ankles throughout the movement.
  • Beginners should try to do at least 20 reps of 3 sets

Once you re comfortable with doing weightless/bodyweight squats you could try doing squats with weights. Here are some more exercises to lose weight from your lower body.

Here are Kris Gethin s tips for doing a barbell squat properly:

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squatSet a barbell on a rack that best matches your height. Once it is loaded with your desired weight, step under the barbell and place the back of your shoulders under it. Lift the barbell from the rack by simultaneously pushing with your legs and straightening your torso. Step away from the rack and position your legs shoulder width apart with your toes slightly pointed out. This will be your starting position. Inhale as you slowly lower the bar sitting back with your hips as though you were going to sit on a chair. Maintain the arch in your back. Continue lowering the weight until your hips and knees form a line parallel to the floor. Exhale as you lift the bar to the starting position, leading the movement with your head. Also, read steps to do the kettlebell clean to get a sexy lower body.

Trainer tip: As you squat, don t let your knees drift forward over your toes; keep them in line with your ankles throughout the movement.

Also check out these exercises for your legs:

The following tip also appears in the Bodybuilding.com: Guide to Your Best Body which is authored by Kris Gethin and published by Simon & Schuster (2013). It can be purchased online on Flipkart. Read how Kris helped Hrithik transform his body.

Image source: Getty Images

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