Squat and spot
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.