Oh dear! That’s not a good look….but I must confess, I was adamantly determined to avoiding squats FOR YEARS!
Long ago when I first started working out with my sister at the YMCA, we asked a trainer to show us how to maximize our time in the gym. We had already been working out for a while at an all women’s gym but we’d decided to take the plunge and get more serious about weight training, hence our eagerness to pick the brain of the big, buffed up trainer who was on morning duty at the Y. He showed us a few things and I remember he recommended we do squats which he swore would put some mass on my chicken legs. I nodded dutifully as he demonstrated proper form, and proceeded to ignore his advice for the next several years.
Mind you, I always worked on my legs and did so diligently, doing leg extensions, deadlifts, lunges of all types and at times jogging on the treadmill but I just didn’t want to do any squats. They seemed so hard…and exhausting…and I was sure I could get comparable results doing other exercises.
I was wrong. One day in 2009, in a fit of pique over my stick legs, I wrote an email to a friend, a Marine who I was pen pals with. He was deployed to Afghanistan at the time. He didn’t give me any sympathy, just basically told me to stop complaining, man up and SQUAT. Now coming from anyone else, it might not have actually made me change a thing but he had a deep passion for lifting like I did and oddly enough we were very successful in pushing each other in a friendly but powerful way even across the miles. With his challenge flag thrown, I couldn’t worm out of doing squats any longer.
That was the beginning of some very good progress, which I immediately saw in my legs but also in my physique as a whole. Luckily my glutes were never problematic (I never looked like the flat bottom girl) but squatting served to help keep my backside nice and tight, it vastly improved my quad development and strengthened my core. At one point I made it a goal to be able to squat twice my bodyweight and I did that successfully. I don’t squat quite that heavy anymore but squats are still an important part of my lifting program.
If you want an even bigger challenge, you can do the dumbbell squats but instead of just standing up at the top of the movement you can pop up into a jump. Made sure you use good form and soft knees for the jumping squats. Start out with relatively light weight until you see how your body reacts to them. If it hurts your knees while you’re doing them or in the next days after, stick with just standing up with the weights and forgo the jumping. Jumping squats work for me…and I love them!