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Squats are a full-body fitness staple that work the hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings, and strengthen the core. Squats may help improve balance and coordination.

If you’re cautious about starting out with squats, don’t be afraid to position yourself over a chair or bench to allow you to more confidence when squatting. This will help you to focus on the technique – which will help you get the most out of the exercise.

They’re not everyone’s cup of tea but there are some great benefits to persevering through them! If you’re struggling to get motivated or finding it too daunting, just think of it as getting in and out of a chair.

Before doing any exercise, ensure that you are fit and healthy. If you have any injuries, or are feeling unwell, either before or during an exercise, stop and consult a health professional before continuing.

Looking to trial a squat? Here’s the step by step guide from Matt Osman, Exercise Physiologist and Research Assistant for the HEROs project.

Preparation

  • Assume a stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart
  • If necessary, position a bench behind you for safety purposes until you are confident to squat without a bench

Action

  • Initiate a squatting motion, and focus on applying pressure through the heels to reach the buttocks behind you
  • Continue to reach the buttocks behind you until you achieve a 90-degree knee bend
  • *Note: Avoid letting the knees over reach the toes, attempt to emphasize the pressure applied through the heels and poke the buttocks behind you to achieve the knee bend
  • At this point, drive through the heels and return to the upright standing position.
  • Take a brief pause before continuing onto your next repetition

*Note: When completing your squats attempt to keep a straight spine throughout the movement and avoid arching through the back

Breathing

  • Exhale: as you drive through the heels to return to the upright standing position
  • Inhale: as you bend the knees and lower the body towards the floor