Are you squatting comfortably?
Ladies, men will have you know that a good bum is a great thing, big and round or small and pert. And guys I’m pretty sure women find this part of your body good to look at too.
But unless you have great genetics, getting the bum of (insert name of current model/ actress/ actor with great bum) requires a little hard work.
Now aesthetics aside having a pert bum is also a pretty good sign of a well-balanced chain of posterior muscles. Starting at your hamstrings (back of the leg) your glutes (bottom) and the spinal erectors in the lower back this chain of muscles is pretty important when it comes to your posture and therefore the bio-mechanics of movement in day to day life and exercise.
I am sure you are all aware of what a great exercise the squat is, whether you hate it (more likely) or love it (you have issues) the squat forms the foundation of most exercise programmes. If you have a personal trainer they will make you do a whole bunch of these, classes and fitness DVD’s are full of them. I’m also sure you have felt your legs burning mid squat and that ever loved ache afterwards for the next couple of days.
But, are you doing them correctly for your bum development? You may have been told to squat to parallel, thigh in line with the floor, or told not to let your knees go ahead of your toes for a safer squat or to protect your knees.
However to hit those glute muscles and to activate those hamstrings (to create that rounded shape) you need to be squatting below parallel…..arse to the grass style. Getting down below parallel activates and utilises the glutes and hamstrings twice as much as a partial squat as well as being safer on knee stability (Caterisano et al 2002). The partial squat (not quite parallel) will use the quads (the front of the thigh) predominantly and because it’s a much smaller movement it’s easier to lift heavier weight (aimed at you guys) so puts more pressure on your back.
So for a better bum and shapely legs or a stronger lift go deeper, but REDUCE the weight when starting, keep that form spot on and get down low. Not only is recruiting those muscles going to give you better shape, using more muscles and moving further will require more energy and so help to burn more fat… double win.
Make sure your feet are about shoulder width, feet slightly turned out. As you squat, push your hips back, make sure you push your knees outwards as you descend and don’t let your back round off (Quasimodo), squat side on to a mirror if you need to.
Squatting deep isn’t for everyone however so if you are new to the gym, have a history of injury, if you are having difficulty or losing form you may need to increase your flexibility/ mobility in your calves, legs, hips and back first, maybe improve core strength or just learn to squat properly first. (Get in touch for details or speak to your gym trainer).
You will certainly know if you’ve gone deep enough as those aches over the next couple of days will be felt a whole lot more in your bum, the back of your legs and the inside of your thighs as well as just the front of your thighs as usual.
Love the squat, but a deeper kind of love and improve your chances of beating Carol Vorderman in rear of the year 2014.
Paul @ myfitnesspro
myfitnesspro – personal training in Epping, Theydon Bois, Loughton, Chigwell, Buckhurst Hill, Highams Park, Chingford, Woodford, South Woodford, Grange Hill, Woodford Bridge, Wanstead, Leytonstone, Walthamstow, Stratford, Bow, Mile End, Canary Wharf, Canning Town, Docklands, E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E8, E9, E10, E11, E14, E15, E17, E18, IG7, IG8, IG9, IG10 and all areas in between.
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