Last year, about this time, for fun I started FB group for anyone looking to better their buns for the summer. The challenge was to do 100 squats every day for 100 days. We had over 20 women in it! That may seem small but I was surprised that many people were paying attention to my posts. 🙂 It took only a week for all the ladies to say that the squats were getting easier, and most could notice their butt lifting.
We had a lot of fun with the group and holding each other accountable. I learned a lot in this group, through my own research and that of others. I want to share with you how to do the basic squat, plus two variations that are amazing for your inner thighs and stomach and two yoga poses to compliment your squat work.
Proper form is essential when squatting! Your knees should never hurt when you squat. If they are, you are doing the form wrong! The diagram above describes the proper squat perfectly. It is more difficult than it seems to keep your knees from going in front of the toes so I recommend watching them or standing in front of a wall with your toes touching the wall so that you will know if your knees go too far forward. Keep your weight in your heels, almost as if you will fall backward at any moment. You MUST lower down to at least parallel to be squatting.
Stand with feet about two feet apart with toes pointing out at 45 degrees. Squat down pushing your butt out so that your knees don’t reach forward but outward toward your knees. Go down until you are parallel with the ground, do NOT let your knees pass your toes, and squeeze and tighten on the way up. This squat will work your inner thighs. This is a great way to get some sexy legs for summertime. Do about 50 a day to notice a change in one week!
Start with a standard squat but, instead of rising to your feet, explode up and jump into the air then land softly down into your squat. This is great to get your heart rate up and burn more calories! Jumping can be hard on the knees so I recommend only starting with 5-10 a day and work up to more as you feel able.
When to breathe & when to squeeze
Inhale on the way down and exhale on the way up. As you exhale tighten your core, focusing on bringing your navel back toward your spine, and squeeze your tush. I like to do my squats fast to (1) get them over with and (2) it gets my heart rate up which burns more calories. A friend of mine always did her super slow, but she had amazing form and doing squats slowly builds and strengthens the muscles quickly.
Yoga squat or Malasana
With your feet wider than hip distance, toes pointing out, lower down all the way. Bring your hands to heart center and your elbows should push out parallel into your knees. Roll your shoulders up and back to push your heart up and out. Gaze straight ahead or up. This pose is working to strengthen and elongate your spine as well as stretch your hips. Benefits of this pose come with time, so take a few moments a day to practice.
This squat is amazing for those of up with tight hips or those of us cooking a baby!
To Vinyasa (with movement) watch this video
Chair Pose or Utkatasana
Chair Pose elongates the spine, tones arms, shoulders, and legs, and builds strength in your core. Stand in mountain pose, as you exhale sit back into your heels and bend your knees. Lower down as far as you can without your knees passing over your toes. Tuck your tail bone down to protect the low back and lengthen the spine. Bring your arms up and out as an extension of the spine. Tighten your core and breathe into the pose. Hold for 30 seconds and return to mountain pose. Repeat daily for best results.
I challenge you to do 100 squats for just 7 days. Take a before and after picture and see how effective a squat can be.