A bodyweight squat, also called an air squat, is an exercise that mimics the movement we make when going from a standing to a sitting position. It’s easy to learn and perform, requiring no special equipment or advanced techniques, making it accessible to almost everyone.
Despite its simplicity, the bodyweight squat is highly effective for building strength and endurance in the lower body. It targets multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core.
Muscles Worked in a Bodyweight Squat
- Lower Back
- Hip Flexors
How to Do a Bodyweight Squat
- Stand Upright. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out. Keep your chest lifted, shoulders relaxed, and eyes focused straight ahead.
- Initiate the Squat. Start lowering your body by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. As you descend, ensure your knees align with your feet and don’t go past your toes.
- Reach Depth. Continue lowering yourself until your thighs are as close to parallel with the ground as possible. Some people can go lower, depending on flexibility, but aim for at least a 90-degree angle at the knees.
- Check Your Form. At the bottom of the squat, ensure that your back is straight, your chest is up, and your knees are not caving inwards.
- Push Up. Begin to push through your heels to return to the starting position. Fully extend your legs and hips, coming back to a full stand.
- Reset. Take a moment to reset your stance and posture before performing the next rep. Make sure your feet are still shoulder-width apart and your focus is straight ahead.
- Knee Strain. Incorrect form, like letting your knees go past your toes, can strain your knee joints excessively, potentially leading to injury.
- Lower Back Pain. Failing to maintain a straight back or leaning too far forward can put pressure on the lower back, increasing the risk of injury.
- Muscle Imbalance. Consistently poor form can lead to muscle imbalances, affecting your overall posture and biomechanics, and increasing the likelihood of injury in other areas.
- Ankle Injuries. Improper foot placement or wobbly execution can strain the ankle joint and surrounding muscles.
- Hip Issues. Incorrectly performed squats could aggravate existing hip issues or create new problems due to improper alignment and stress on the hip joint.
- Overexertion. Performing too many reps or sets without proper rest can lead to overexertion, making you more susceptible to all kinds of injuries.
- Reduced Effectiveness. Poor form or technique can significantly reduce the effectiveness of the exercise, meaning you won’t reap the full benefits of the workout.