The squat is a full-body strengthening exercise that works out your hips, legs, glutes, abs, shoulders, and back. Because of this, and because it requires no equipment (unless you want to add weights), it a very popular exercise choice. These five squatting tips will help make sure your squats are perfect so that you get all the great benefits, not to mention avoid risking injury.

Maintain Proper Form At All Times

The perfect squat happens with a tight core, an arched back, feet shoulder-distance apart, never locking the knees, and never lowering your thighs below parallel to the floor. Without your core tightened while squatting, you are missing out on the opportunity to really work out your abs. Without the other form concerns, you are risking stress and injury. As you can see, form is of utmost importance where squatting is concerned.

Get Your Hips And Ankles Nice And Loose

If you’re noticing you have a shallow squat, meaning having trouble lowering thighs to parallel with the ground, the cause might be tightness in your hip and ankle joints. Stretch these parts of your body thoroughly to correct this problem and get your squat game going strong. Hip and ankle circles in your stretch routine should help to fix up your squat in no time.

Add Some Purposeful Pausing

Our muscles become pretty elastic and powerful when they are active and stretched. This makes it so the body does not have to work as hard coming out of the lowered position to get back up. If you want to get the full benefit of squats, add a pause to that knees-bent position. Start with a one-second pause, and gradually work your way up to pausing for three seconds to maximize your squatting and build more muscle.

Include Plenty Of Static Stretching In Your Warm-Up

Static stretches are where you hold in a position for a length of time, whereas dynamic stretches use controlled movements through ranges of motion. Many people recommend sticking to dynamic stretching, because it eases your muscles into your workout. However, static stretching can increase your joints’ range of motion, which can be particularly helpful for the knees, and even the ankles, before you engage in your squat exercise.

Add Sideways Motion To Your Routine

As mentioned, one part of great squat form is never allowing your knees to cave in or lock when lifting out of your squat. One reason that might happen is your outer thigh and glute, also known as your abductor, is weak. Those muscles are not doing the work they should be doing. This can easily be fixed by including some sideways exercises, like side lunges, into your routine, to get your balance an equilibrium on point.