Squat and spot

Women's Health (UK) - - BEST BODY -

Many pro­fes­sion­als use the squat to as­sess a client be­fore a work­out. ‘It re­veals so much about where your body is at,’ says Lind­say. From how much you sit, stand and ex­er­cise, to any mus­cu­lar im­bal­ances you may have. Drop into a ba­sic squat and check your own form for these com­mon con­cerns


Best for: Long torso Why? More up­per-body en­gage­ment means you’re more likely to lean for­ward as you lower down. Hold­ing a weight in front of you forces you to shift your own weight back so you don’t fall over. It dis­trib­utes the load equally be­tween your glutes and ham­strings and your quads, mak­ing it a go-to move among the pros.


Best for: Tight hips Why? Sep­a­rat­ing your feet more than shoul­der­width apart and turn­ing your knees and toes out will help iso­late the pos­te­rior chain and in­ner-thigh area. Mean­while, the width opens up more space for your pelvis to dip low.


Best for: Short legs Why? Squat­ting to sit on the edge of a box or bench can ease you into a deeper stance than your legs will al­low and elim­i­nate fear of in­jury. Re­mem­ber, the bench is there to sup­port you.


Best for: Flat feet

Why? The lack of an arch makes throw­ing your weight into your heels tricky. Lift­ing your heels can help re­dis­tribute weight back­ward where it be­longs, mak­ing each rep more ef­fec­tive.


Best for: Knee val­gus Why? Plac­ing a looped re­sis­tance band around your thighs en­cour­ages you to as­sume a more par­al­lel po­si­tion. As the band pulls your knees in, your brain cues your hip mus­cles to work harder to coun­ter­act the move­ment.


Best for: Long legs Why? Point­ing your toes out at a 45° an­gle (not as ex­treme as a sumo stance) can give your hips more space to squat, as a lengthy lower half makes it tougher to get close to the ground. Re­mem­ber to keep your knees aligned with your mid­dle toe for the per­fect po­si­tion.


Best for: Pe­tite frames Why? For those who are short-to-av­er­age height, hold­ing a bar against your shoul­ders bet­ter dis­trib­utes weight to the pos­te­rior chain with­out over­stress­ing your lower back.


Best for: Asym­me­try Why? Hold­ing a weight at each side as you lower into your squat helps you in­stantly spot and cor­rect any side-lean­ing – if one dumb­bell is closer to the ground than the other, some­thing is clearly off. Work on evening out the weights and, in turn, your body.

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