Exercise 101: squats

Exercise 101: squats

Targeting the back of the thighs is what squats do best, and there are many variations that you can try for extra impact.

What are they?

Squats are great for training your lower body and your core. They can help to create definition of the thighs and buttocks.

What do I need?

Nothing. You use your own body weight to perform squats, unless you want to add an exercise ball to lean against.

What are the benefits?

Quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, hip adductors, hip abductors, gastrocnemius (calf), soleus, tibias anterior, rectus abdominals and erector spinae  are all worked hard in squats.

Aside from the benefits to thighs and buttocks, squats are a low impact exercise and can also improve your posture, digestion and circulation.

How do I do them?

Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. With arms down by your side, lower your body as if you were about to sit down on a chair, by bending the knees and pushing hips back.

As you lower, bring your arms out to the front to act as a counter balance. The lower body should be parallel with the floor and then pause before lifting back up to a standing position.

Who can do them?

Squats are a low impact exercise so anyone can do them.

What variations can I try?

With an exercise ball behind your back, lean back slightly against the ball as you squat low, and let the ball roll up your back.

Try a dumbbell in each hand and keep them down by your side once you are well versed at the squat.

Lower yourself further each time you try squats so that you are going into a deep squat for best results.


The Author

Laura Briggs

Laura is a fitness writer who loves running, strength training, Pilates and Yoga. When she's got time to herself you might find her knitting, or in the kitchen trying out an elaborate recipe - healthy of course!.


Emma C.
16 February 2016

Emma C.

I did the 100 squats a day challenge a few weeks ago and it made a real difference. If you do enough, it seems they're all you need to do to tone your lower half.

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