Wilderness Athlete Squat Progression
Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.
In fact, when done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which is vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs. Squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.
1. Your stance should start with your toes facing straight ahead or slightly angled out and your legs placed slightly wider than your shoulders.
2. If you remember one thing from this video it’s this! Keep your shins as vertical as possible throughout the movement. This will help you unload weight from your knees and channel the power into your hips and hamstrings.
3. Load your hips and hamstrings – You do this by tilting your torso forward and driving your hamstrings back. You should be looking straight ahead or slightly down with your neck in line with your spine. Do not be that guy who stares up at the ceiling, or let your back start to round (like a turtle’s shell) which will cause stress on the lower back. Start with a chair or bench to ensure proper form.
4. Distribute your weight in the center of your feet. Do not let your heels come up. Shifting all your weight to your heels will make it difficult to create the torque needed for full stability.
5. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground. Your palms should be facing down and force your knees out instead of forward over your toes. This will help alleviate knee problems in the future.
6. The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows for. Optimal squat depth would be with your hips sinking below your knees (again, if you have the flexibility to do so comfortably).
7. Make sure you are engaging your core each squat and finish with your hips extended.