Lower body training: how to squat and build your lower body

smiling woman holding dumbbell while sitting
Smiling woman performing goblet squat.

What is the Squat?

The squat is a compound lift which means it targets multiple muscles in your body. The squat is known as one of the best exercises to develop an impressive lower body. This means that the squat is responsible for many of the nice butts and legs that you see allover Instagram.

While the squat alone is not solely responsible for some amazing physiques, it definitely is included in your favourite fitness model’s training program.

Why is it an important lift?

The squat is important as a lift because it develops strength and builds muscle at the same time. While it is not an isolation move, it arguably provides the glutes muscles with more ROM (range of motion) than any other lift making it an excellent glutes builder.

Another reason why the squat is recommended to not just men but women is because it develops the quads and hamstrings in addition to the glutes. Here we can see how the squat lends itself to a desirable physique. We can also understand it’s function in creating both upper and lower body strength that translates into better performance with other lifts.

How do I perform the squat properly?

Here is a video by fitness blogger Megsquats that I will share with you that demonstrates the key principles that you should follow when starting out with squats. In this short video, she demonstrates how to perform the correct body adjustments required for not only nailing the form but how to get stronger using good form.

I make mention of the importance of good form when it comes to getting stronger in most of my posts because it is by building a solid base that you can develop the strength in any chosen lift.

What are some variations of the squat that I can implement into my program?

To add variety to your program, you can choose one of the following squat types and choose to alter either your stance, load (stimulus) or resistance.

Types of squats:

1)Back squat 2)Front squat 3) Goblet squat 4) Banded squat 5) Any combination of these

This video is taken from my Instagram page. This is a demonstration on how to perform a banded goblet squat. Instructions: Hold the dumbbell tight against your chest and make sure to actively engage your core throughout the entire movement.

As for adding variety to your program, here are some ideas for some areas to adjust. You can alter your stance, resistance and load. Here are some ideas that you can incorporate into your training:

Squat stance choices:

Here is a link to one of my videos outlining the correct form to perform the following stances. (Go to minute 00:47-01:50)

  1. Narrow stance 2) Sumo stance 3) Regular stance 4) B-stance (not covered in video)

Resistance choices:

1) Barbell 2) Dumbbell 3) Band 4) Cable 5) Machine

Load Types:

  1. Increasing/decreasing rest time in between squat sets 2) Increasing/decreasing overall weekly training volume 3) Increasing/decreasing amount of weight performed with your squat

What alternatives are there to a squat? I hate the squat and can never perform it comfortably.

The squat isn’t for everybody, if you completely hate it, try performing any of the following exercises instead. These are some great lower body builders:

Note: The exercises in bold are demonstrated in the videos below.

1)Split Squat, walking lunge or reverse lunge

Video of me performing a goblet split squat. Goblet simply means that you hold the dumbbell or kettlebell close to your chest. Make sure to keep your elbows in while performing the movement in order to secure the weight comfortably.

2) Hip Thrust, single leg hip thrust

3) Deadlift

4) Hip Abductor (seated/standing/machine/cable)

5) Kickback (ankleweight/banded/cable)

6) Leg press (try experimenting with your foot stance to engage either your quads, hamstrings or glutes)

7)Back extension, reverse hyperextension

8) Frog pump, banded bridge or single leg bridge

9) Step up

Here is one of my workouts that you can try at home or at the gym whenever you want to work on developing your lower body.

Lower Body Day Workout

Audience: All levels

Difficulty: Beginner/moderate

Equipment needed: A pair of dumbbells, a bench, a mat and a resistance band

Let me know what you guys thought of this post by writing a comment below.

Love,

Tara.

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