Air Squat

Air Squat

Guide to Mastering Air Squats and Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight squats, or air squats, are one of my favorite, do anywhere exercises to warm up the quads and get your heart pumping!

Hey there! Today, I want to dive into one of my favorite warm-up exercises, air squats, also known as bodyweight squats. This exercise is a do anywhere game changer when it comes to building lower body strength and toning those glutes. So, let’s get down (literally!) and explore everything you need to know about this awesome lower body exercise!

What is an air squat or bodyweight squat?

Okay, before I get into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand what an air squat actually is. An air squat, or bodyweight squat, is a simple yet super effective exercise that involves using just your body weight and no additional weights or equipment. It’s a fantastic way to build strength and tone your lower body, targeting your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even your core. Air squats, are often used in training programs like CrossFit and other plyometric workout routines.

Benefits of Air Squats

Why should you bother with bodyweight squats? Well, let me tell you what I share with my Online Fitness Coaching clients about the awesome benefits:

  1. Build Leg Strength: Air squats are excellent for strengthening your legs. As you progress and add more reps, your leg muscles will become more powerful.
  2. Functional Movement: These squats mimic everyday movements like sitting down and standing up, making them super functional for real-life activities.
  3. No Equipment Needed: You don’t need any fancy equipment to do air squats, which means you can do them anytime, anywhere.
  4. Burn Calories: Since air squats work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, they can help you burn more calories in less time.
  5. Improved Mobility: Regularly performing air squats can improve your hip and ankle mobility, enhancing your overall flexibility.

How to Perform an Air Squat

Alright, let’s get down to business. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to perform a perfect air squat:

  1. Positioning: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and engage your core for stability.
  2. The Descent: Initiate the squat by pushing your hips back, as if you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Bend your knees and lower your body towards the ground, maintaining a neutral spine.
  3. Depth: Aim to lower yourself until your hips are parallel to the ground, or as far as your mobility allows comfortably.
  4. The Ascent: Push through your heels to rise back up to the starting position, keeping your chest up and core engaged throughout.
  5. Breathing: Inhale as you descend and exhale as you ascend, focusing on steady breaths throughout the movement.
Air Squat

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Even the simplest exercises can be tricky, so here are some common mistakes to watch out for:

  1. Knees Caving In: Pay attention to your knees; they should track over your toes throughout the movement. Avoid letting them cave inward.
  2. Rounding the Back: Keep your back straight and avoid rounding or arching your spine during the squat.
  3. Not Reaching Depth: Strive to reach at least parallel depth to get the most out of the exercise.

Air Squat Variations

Once you’ve mastered the basic air squat, you can level up with some fun variations:

  1. Jump Squats: Add explosiveness by jumping off the ground as you rise from the squat position.
  2. Pulse Squats: At the bottom of the squat, pulse up and down slightly before ascending.
  3. Single-Leg Squats: Challenge your balance and strength by doing squats on one leg at a time.
Bodyweight Squat or Air Squat

Are air squats bad for your knees?

While air squats are not necessarily bad for your knees, if you feel joint pain then you may be going too low or not using the correct form. In many instances, knee pain comes as a result of putting your weight more towards your toes instead of the back of your heels. You may also feel pain if your feet aren’t turned outwards at a slight angle.

If you experience back pain, this likely comes from inadvertently leaning your chest forward too much while doing squats, putting strain on your lower back. Always listen to your body though and if you are using good form and still experiencing pain, avoid the movement and consult your doctor or physio.

How far down should you squat?

When performing a squat, the depth to which you should go depends on your individual mobility, flexibility, and comfort level. The general guideline is to aim for at least parallel depth, which means your hips should descend to a point where your thighs are parallel to the ground or slightly below it. Here are some considerations for squat depth:

  1. Parallel Depth: This is a common depth used as a standard in squats. It ensures that you are engaging your leg muscles effectively while maintaining proper form.
  2. Full Depth (Ass-to-Grass): Some individuals, especially those with good mobility and flexibility, can go deeper into the squat until their hips are below their knees. This is known as “ass-to-grass” depth.
  3. Partial Squats: If you have mobility or flexibility issues, it’s okay to perform partial squats where you don’t go as low as parallel. Just ensure you still maintain good form and avoid rounding your back.
  4. Body Structure: Individual differences in body structure, such as the length of your femurs or torso, can impact your squat depth. Emphasize finding a depth that feels comfortable and safe for your body.
  5. Exercise Goals: The depth of your squat can also be influenced by your exercise goals. Powerlifters, for example, often perform squats to meet competition standards, which may require hitting a specific depth.

Remember, the quality of the squat is more important than the depth. It’s essential to prioritize good form, keep your back straight, knees aligned with your toes, and engage your core throughout the movement. If you’re unsure about your squat form or how deep to go, consider working with a fitness professional or coach who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific needs and goals.

Some of my favorite Squat Variations:

Back Squats
Front Squats
Overhead Barbell Squat
Figure Four Dancers Single Leg Squat

Online Fitness Coaching Reviews and Success Stories