Get even more from the thinking gym-goer’s favourite move
Keep your back straight and look forward. This forces you to tense your abs as if you were about to take a punch, except instead of a fist putting tension on your abs, it’s the bar-bell. So, if you can’t find the time to work your mid-section independently, keep your back straight for abs that could defend against Pacquiao.
Squatting as low as you can uses 7.4% more muscle in your glutes, found a recent study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. And seeing as your backside always scores highly in those ‘favourite body-part’ polls that ladies love so much, she’ll want you to go deep.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. This strengthens your muscles and tendons in their natural alignment. Place a bar-bell at the back of your shoulders, across the muscles on the sides and back of your neck (traps). They’ll cushion the bar and stop it from resting on your spine.
The return leg
Rise along the same path as you lower. Keep your knees slightly bent at the top. Tilting your pelvis forward during this phase of the move makes you use more muscle in your legs and lowers your risk of injury compared to tilting it back, found a study in the journal Physical Therapy.
Go heavy, early
Squats are tough, so you don’t want to be doing them at the end of a session. “They let you ply your leg muscles with a huge amount of weight, which triggers growth,” says Christian Finn, founder of thefactsaboutfitness.com. “So it’s best to do them at the beginning of your workout when you’re fresh.”
Photo: Adrian Weinbrecht; Model: David Sheath @ Flair Talent