Squats—the magic exercise that will give you the Queen Bey booty we’ve all dreamed of. If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried every squat challenge and technique in the book.
Squats are extremely efficient in lifting and enlarging the gluteal muscles, but are also extremely pointless and tedious if done incorrectly. So it’s time to ditch the 30-day squat challenges (which can actually be quite damaging with no time for your muscles to rest) and look at the five things you’re doing that are preventing you from seeing results.
- Not squatting to 90 degrees
If your thighbone is not at least parallel to the floor when you squat down, you’re not squatting correctly. Try to train your body by practicing this in front of a mirror with no added weight. Over time and with a little strengthening, you will be able to get your squat deeper than 90 degrees, which means the exercise will be even more effective in helping you achieve your booty goals.
- Letting your knees push further than your toes
When squatting, you want to look like you’re sitting in a chair with your shin bone perfectly perpendicular and straight above your foot. Allowing your legs to fall forward puts all of the tension into your knees and can result in serious injury. Always check your alignment in between reps!
- Pushing up on the ball your foot
This is probably the biggest reason why people’s squats result in quadricep build-up rather than hamstring and glute toning. Pushing yourself up from a squat with your toes completely targets the wrong muscles. When squatting, you should be putting so much weight in your heels that your toes can lift off the ground as you do the exercise. Try wiggling your toes whenever you go down into a squat to make sure your center of balance is in your heels.
- Not squeezing your butt at the top
It’s a small change, but just a little squeeze can completely change the effectiveness of your squats. When lifting up from the squat, thrust your hips forward and squeeze your butt muscles as hard as you can. Do this after every rep, and you will feel and see a difference. Sure, it might not look super cute as you do it, but an ugly butt in the gym is worth seeing maximum results when you leave.
- Not being persistent enough
Toning and building muscle takes time! If you are super determined to tone up, try dedicating 30 minutes every other day to this exercise. Don’t forget to switch up your squats for optimal results—try squat jumps, plié squats, and sumo jump squats to start. If you really want to pump up your workout, add in other sculpting exercises to your routine like lunges or deadlifts.
by Dylan Roman-Holba