The squat is an awesome exercise.
Not just for skiing, but for general health and fitness, and many other sports.
The squat is a compound exercise.
A compound exercise is a multi-joint exercise using more than one muscle group.
The squat recruits not only your glutes (bum), quads (thighs), hamstrings (backs of your legs), but your core (abs and back) and many more.
The more muscles you recruit the more energy you need, the more resources (fat/fuel/food) you will burn.
When we sit down, we squat.
When we bend to lift something off the ground we (should!) squat.
Movements we perform on a daily basis involve a squat position.
As a consequence, the squat is one of the best functional exercises.
The squat also challenges and improves balance, mobility and flexibility.
How to perform a squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
Hold your arms out beside you for balance.
Bend your knees, hip and ankles.
Send your bum back, keep your knees above your toes.
Think about pulling your knees apart, sending them towards your feet.
Keep your back straight and chest up.
Engage your glutes and your core (it’s easy to switch these off).
As you warm-up, and as strength and flexibility increases, you’ll be able to get your thighs parallel with the ground, and maybe go lower.
Squeeze your glutes to come back up to standing.
There are many types of squat. I will describe some you can do at home without a weight.
Using a chair: position a chair behind you and go to sit down on it, slowly and controlled, focusing on the technique described above.
Repeat, but try and hover over the chair.
Using a wall: face the wall with your feet fairly close and bend to squat. You can keep your hands on the wall.
Turn around and rest your back against the wall. Sink, bending your knees until they are above your toes. Slide up and down, or lower and hold for as long as you can.
Using a standard squat, you can vary the tempo.
Count one to go down, and two to come back up. Vice versa.
Hold a squat for as long as you can.
Lower to a squat position and pulse.
As you gain strength you can try the following to increase power strength.
Box jumps: Find a bench, a box, a wall (something stable and that will support your weight). Squat down and jump up on to the surface. Jump off, landing lightly.
Jump squat: Squat down and power up to jump as high as you can. Try and land as quietly as possible. Start by doing one or two normal squats and every third, jump. Reduce the amount of standard squats until you are continuously jumping.
One-legged squats/Pistol squats
Start by using your other leg for support.
Keep your hip in line with your knee and knee over your toes as you squat.
As strength increases you can remove the supporting leg.
Something I need to work on!
Standard squats on a wobble board.
Pistol squats on a wobble board.
Yeaaah, my one-legged squats are no where near ready. Yet…
Don’t try and force yourself into a position if you’re not strong enough yet – never compromise good form.