Do you know how to do a proper air squat? With the ongoing global pandemic, a lot of people are turning to workouts they can do at home. Air squats are one simple way to make sure your leg muscles are getting the attention they need, especially if you find yourself seated at a desk for most of the day! They can be incorporated into whatever workout you are doing that day, or can be a stand-alone activity when you just need to move a little between work calls or Zoom classes.
If you’re a yogi or a weight lifter, you are probably already familiar with the technique. Read through for a refresher, and the specifics of air squatting that you may not be aware of already!
Before we dive into how to properly do an air squat and the particulars of it, the first thing to know is what kind of benefits you can expect from doing them. Like any kind of exercise, you want to be sure that your hard work will yield results. Squats, including the air variety, are what experts call a “compound exercise.” This means that they work more than one muscle group at once. So you get more bang for your buck, so to speak! Air squats are also good for balance and coordination, two important things for athletes and yogis alike.
None needed! The nice thing about air squats is that they require no equipment at all, you don’t even have to be wearing shoes when you air squat the day away. They are actually often called “bodyweight squats” because of this. No equipment is necessary, just your body. Of course, if you have a home gym or even a yoga mat it might be nice to set yourself up for success when you get moving. I prefer to be barefoot on my yoga mat, with some great workout music pulsing in the background.
So like I mentioned, air squats are a compound exercise. You might be wondering which muscles they work. You will most likely feel them in your thighs and glutes, but technically they work the following muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, calves. Yes, abs! Who knew that air squats could also qualify for an ab workout? Well, now you know! Air squats truly work all the important areas.
Many people don’t feel the need to focus on their leg muscles, because we use them everyday when we walk or run. But this is all the more reason to make sure they are super strong! Plus, as mentioned, air squats work a lot of different muscles so they are a great thing to incorporate into your exercise routine.
Before you even think about starting your new air squat routine, you’ll need to know the particulars of your stance and form, so that you don’t injure yourself. When not performed properly, air squats may not be effective and you could strain a muscle. No one wants that! Pay attention to the notes on form so that you don’t make any mistakes, especially if you’re a beginner to air squats.
So, for the perfect air squat, make sure your feet are wider than your hips, with your toes facing forward. Keep your chest and head up. If you have a mirror, try doing air squats in front of the mirror so you can keep an eye on your form, while keeping your head and chest up (looking at the mirror will ensure you hold this position properly). Keep your heals down, and feel free to float or wiggle your toes to make sure your heels stay down. The weight should be in your heels or the balls of your feet. If you do yoga or weight lifting, chances are you will already be familiar with this form! Make sure your knees stay outward and in line with your toes. Sit into the air squat position, with your butt back.
Now, the main attraction: your technique! Again, if you’re a first timer it may be helpful to practice this in front of a mirror until it becomes second nature. You don’t want to practice with improper technique, or the quality of the workout will not be supreme.
Start by standing with your feet spread apart, just slightly wider than your hips. There are different ways to air squat, such as with wide legs, but for now we will just focus on your standard air squat. Like I mentioned before, your toes should be facing forward. Ensure your chest and head are up while you sit back into the position, as if you’re sitting on a chair. When you sink into this position, make sure you push your knees outward to stay in line with the toes.
At this point, check that your chest and head are still up. Then, check your feet. Is your weight in the balls of your feet or heels? Great. You should feel balanced and centered at this point, and are ready to air squat! Sink into your chair, then drive your body back upward once you reach your lowest point. Continue this motion for as many repetitions as you want to do. Ensure your muscles stay active and your chest stays up as you continue this exercise. You don’t want your knees to knock inward or your heels to come up off the ground.
As with any exercise, air squats should be done frequently in order to be effective and really gain muscle in the areas you’re working. Many experts or personal trainers recommend doing a set of 10-15 or 20 air squats a day, at a frequency of two to three times a week. For beginners, start with 20 squats per day. If you’re reading this and you’ve seen those crazy challenges about doing “100 air squats a day” or something similar, this is good news! You don’t have to do a million air squats for them to be effective. Like most other workouts, consistency is the key to success and a toned body.
Have you benefitted from doing air squats regularly? Let me know in the comments below! Share this article with your favorite workout buddies.
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Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.