Let me blow your mind really quick: Squats are not the only way to strengthen your glutes, and they’re not the best way to do it either.
Yup, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that Romanian deadlifts and weighted hip bridges worked participants’ booties harder than the back squat.
So if you’re out here wondering if your squatting wrong, maybe it’s time to ask yourself if you could work other moves into your routine as well. Cool? Cool.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss what a proper squat looks like, shall we?
How to do le squat
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your chest lifted, slowly bend your knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, keeping your knees behind your toes.
- Press into your heels and focus on your glutes as you straighten your knees to come back to the starting position. That’s one rep.
- Feel like a baller.
Obviously, form is the MOST important thing when doing any kind of exercise, since effing it up could mean, at best, not getting the full effects of the workout and, at worst, hurting yourself. No bueno.
If you’ve got all that, let’s move on to all of the things you probably haven’t thought about yet, like focusing on the clench, the best time to work that back, and more.
1 . You’re not squeezing hard enough.
Tuning into your lower bod, aka your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, can help improve your form over time, says certified personal trainer and founder of Body By Hannah, Hannah Davis. “Fire up your lower body by squeezing everything before you start the squat,” says Davis. This trick intensifies the part where you lower down, so you should start feeling the burn sooner. Each squat will be way more effective.
2 . You squat after doing cardio.
If your goal is to build a bigger, stronger booty, this mistake could sabotage you, says Davis. Here’s the deal: If your legs are already fatigued from running, Spin class, or the elliptical, you won’t have enough energy left to crush your strength workout, she says. And you won’t see much progress if you can’t give the move your all by adding resistance and increasing weight with each set.
3 . You’re not dropping it low enough.
If you wanna get the most out of your move, position your thighs parallel to the ground (or even lower) before pushing yourself back up, says Davis. “You’ll tone up faster and more efficiently when you use a full range of motion in your squat,” she says.
4. You don’t take rest days.
Those muscles need time to heal up. “You experience soreness because you’re literally breaking muscle fibers apart,” says Massy Arias, L.A.-based certified fitness trainer and Instagram icon with 2.5 million Instagram followers. “These need to repair fully so you’re able to go again and repeat the process.”
5. You don’t add resistance.
Air squats are great for beginners, but if you’ve been squatting for more than six months and haven’t noticed your butt getting bigger, you need to add weight, says Arias. Like any muscle, you have to increase the resistance in order for your glutes to grow. Start off using one that’s challenging for you—but not enough to make you feel like you’re straining. “Your last two reps should feel like they are very hard to complete but not impossible,” Arias says. Increase the load gradually when you crave more of a challenge.