I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating. Before performing any weight lifting, upper or lower body, set up your form and posture from the ground up.
Setting up your primary form and posture:
Toes point forward
Feet hip distance apart
Tummy pulled in tight
Tuck the pelvis slightly
Lift the chest
Pull your shoulders up towards your ears dramatically, press them back, and then lower them down into imaginary pockets
Whew! Now, you are ready to set up the rest of your form.
Squats: Either keep your feet hip distance apart or inch them out just past hip distance. Lift your toes off of the ground, grounding down between the ball of your foot and heel. Keeping your toes lifted, sit down and back, hinging at your waste and knees, without allowing your knees to come past the front of your lifted toes or your back or shoulders to round. Squeeze the spot where your butt and hamstring meet, as you raise back to standing. Watching your knees in a mirror placed to your right or left side will help you focus the work in your butt, rather than your knees. Remember, squats are about the butt, so squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, to get the benefit of the work you are doing.
Reverse lunges: Set up your primary posture and form, then step one leg back. Keeping your chest lifted and shoulders low on the back, drive your back knee down towards the floor. Your front knee should act just as it did in your squat, as a hinge, that doesn’t move past the toes or really forward at all. When watching your form in a mirror to your right or left side, you should see your upper body move up and down, just as a carousel horse does. No forward or back movement. Your side view should also reveal two 90 degree angles. One in your front leg and one in your back. You can either step back to center, again without leaning forward OR you can stay in a static lunge, continuing to move up and down, and squeezing where the top of your leg and the bottom of your tush meet. (Your gluteal fold.)
We’ll touch on more lower body exercises and form in our next post, including “good mornings” and “dead lifts”.