For the most elemental of human movements—sitting down and getting back up, or lifting something heavy off the ground—there is no better exercise than the squat. But form is incredibly important for preventing injury, so start with unweighted “air squats” to develop a full range of motion before adding weight.
- Stand with feet wider than shoulder width, toes splayed 30 degrees, your chest up and butt back. Weight should be on your heels, not your toes.
- Squat by pushing your butt backward, not by bending your knees forward.
- Knees should track directly over the feet, never caving inward or outward.
- Bring your thighs parallel to the floor while keeping your weight on your heels and your spine straight and solid.
- Back Squat: Once you can hold good form through 20 body-weight squats, add weight by resting an empty barbell on your back, and then add plates as you progress.
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