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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bodyweight Series: Squats



Lord, Please Make My . . . Smaller/Bigger/Tighter
We as women are a pretty self-conscious bunch, especially when it comes to our bodies. There's always something on our person that we want to be smaller.  Or bigger.  Or tighter.  Or rounder.  Regardless of what change in shape, size, or texture we want, I would venture to say that {in my non-expert opinion} I think I know exactly which body part we all want to change.

The Batootie.
 The butt, bum, derriere, trunk, badonkadonk, bottom, tush, rear, or in my family's case {thanks to my dad's Polish background...} the doopa. 

When You Wish Upon the Butt Genie
Whatever it is that you affectionately call your posterior, I doubt that you would call it strong.  That’s probably not something you would have thought to wish for if the Butt Genie were to show up on your front door step.  Why should you want a strong butt? Because a strong butt means a smaller, tighter, non-jiggly butt…which I KNOWis what you want!

The Butt Genie would like to make your wish come true! With a wave of his hands and an “Abra, Kadabra, Alakazaam!”, he gives you…

The Squat
Squats are the essence of functional movements for us bipedal people.  We squat to pick up children and dropped keys.  We squat when going from a sitting to standing position. Heck, my 1-year-old squats constantly as he has recently started walking and loves taste testing everything on the floor {I pick it up, it goes in my mouth, I drop it, I pick it up again…}

Squats are vital in maintaining healthy backs, knees, and hips. And butts!  It’s a simple yet super effective move to strengthen your entire core, increase mobility and flexibility, and lift, lift, LIFT that doopa!

I can honestly say that I have definitely noticed a huge difference in my tush and hamstrings in only a few months’ time of doing squats on a regular basis.  It’s easier to pick up my boys, grab things off the ground or in low cabinets, and do yard work.  Going up two flights of stairs every day at work is cake. 

My pants fit way better in the back side.  I have one pair of work pants that make me chuckle because I can’t actually say they’re bigger in the butt on me now.  Truth be told, they’re actually tighter around the upper part of my butt and loose in the bottom part.  I just laugh and think, “My butt may be getting bigger…but at least it’s more lifted!” 

So let’s drop it!




•Start with feet shoulder width and slightly toed out.
•Keep the head up.
•Maintain the lumbar curve of the lower back.
•Keep the midsection tight.
•Send the butt back and down.
•Keep the pressure on the heels.
•Delay the knees forward travel as much as possible.
•Lift the arms as the butt drops down.
{Thighs should drop “below parallel”}
•Squeeze the glutes and hamstrings to rise.
•Stand tall at the top*



Squat Variations

Add weight to your squats by using a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebell, child, dog, bag of sand…anything!  The front squat allows your torso to remain more vertical, but the movement does not target the hamstrings and glutes as directly as the back squat.



Same as front squat but instead of weight being in the “front rack” position, the weight is behind.  Typically, one should be able to back squat a higher weight load compared to their front squat.  This movement targets quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and abs.  However, back squats can be a little more taxing on your spine.



Dubbed the “ultimate core exercise” by CrossFit’s Greg Glassman, the overhead squat is an extremely challenging movement.  Elbows are locked out as you hold the weight up while you squat.



This one really tests your balance!  I couldn’t do these just a few months ago. I tried last week for the first time and was super stoked that I could do them without falling over and feeling like a fool.  You can start by using a chair to help you balance.  To make it more challenging, try to get your butt as close to the ground as possible.

Lots of love, Dawn

*http://www.rebelfitnesssquamish.com/2011/11/12/the-squat-test-and-foundation-for-functional-movement/

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