Squats are kinda like the high-waisted jeans of fitness. They’re a classic move but are definitely having a moment. For reals, even at-home squat machines exist now. And although the trendy exercise is pretty basic, it’s definitely possible you’re hindering your booty goals by making subtle mistakes.
Here, we break down the most common squat snafus and how to fix them. Let’s get low!
1. You’re not clenching hard enough.
Tuning into your lower body, 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 fibres 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.
6. Your form is off.
To see results faster and prevent injury, keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your chest lifted, and your knees behind your toes. Squatting should feel as natural as sitting in a chair.
Notice that she’s lifting her heels, arching her back, and her knees are going way past her toes.
Arias’ spine is neutral, her knees don’t go past her toes, and her feet stay flat on the floor.