A strong lower body is essential not only for athletes but for everyone in general. It reduces the risk of injuries as well as makes the strides more powerful. Resistance exercises like the air squat exercises are essential as they offer many benefits. However, you should do an air squat properly to target the proper muscle groups. Read below to know about air squats, how to do them and their benefits.
What are Air Squats?
Air squat is also called bodyweight squat and is a good lower body exercise. Unlike the usual squats, the air squat does not need dumbbells or other kinds of weights. It uses the individual’s body weight while performing the air squats workout. It works on the glutes, thighs, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It is a good exercise for trainees at entry-level and is among the popular CrossFit workouts too. However, the form must be correct to gain the full benefits of the air squat workout. Once you get it right, then you can add weights and move up the ladder.
Air Squats Benefits
Air squats workout is great on any given leg day. It is a low-impact routine when it comes to stress on the joints but can boost the power in the lower body. Listed below are some of the common advantages of this.
- A great precursor to the Squat: The air squat is a good exercise to get a proper air squat form. Beginners should start with this exercise so that they can perform the weighted squats with ease. These include Kettlebell squats, Barbell squats, etc.
- It is a low-impact workout: The air squat uses the bodyweight and thus has a minor impact on the joints as there is less load. It is ideal for people having joint problems, back pain, or weak knees. There is a reduced risk of injury when you do this squat variation. Also, these require no equipment and hence light on your wallet.
- Boosts balance and strength: Despite being done without any weights, it is still considered a resistance and strength training exercise. Air squats exercise is highly beneficial to boost your lower body power. It targets the glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and thighs. It builds muscle mass and improves overall strength in the body. Add some cardio like treadmill or rowing and boost balance too.
- Makes the core strong: With the bodyweight squats, dumbbell air squats or any other weighted exercise, the core gets worked out as it gets squeezed. It helps maintain the trunk in a fixed posture and avoids the rounded back, improving the core strength.
- Burns fat: Air squat is a functional exercise and builds muscle mass. Though it looks simple, it is an intense workout that boosts the legs. When you have strong legs, it leads to better movement and metabolism. When you have a good metabolism, more calories get burnt, leading to greater weight loss.
How to do Air Squats?
The form must be correct to gain the full benefits of the air squat workout. Read below to learn proper air squat form. Before starting this workout, do some warmups and gentle stretching.
- Start the exercise by standing with feet placed shoulder-width apart. Keep the toes pointed slowly outward.
- Keep the core engaged, push the chest out and pull the shoulder blades.
- Now get into a squat like you are about to sit in an invisible chair. Place the weights on your heels so that the body does not lean forward. Keep the hips back and down.
- Maintain the curve in the lower back and place the heels flat on the ground. Hips should be lower than the knees.
- Stay in this position for a few counts and then rise slowly to a standing position by pushing the heels and the glutes.
Tips to Remember to Get the Perfect Air Squat Form:
Ensure that the toes and knees are in line with each other.
- To prevent knee pain, place the toes slightly outward.
- Do not round your back.
- The upper body should be still, and only the lower body should move.
- Don’t let your shoulders drop forward.
- Place all the body weight on your heels, do not hinge forward.
- Keep the chest lifted and the focus in the front.
- Your form is incorrect if you experience pain in any portion of your body other than your glutes and thighs.
- You might experience pain in the knees if you are squatting too low. It also means that the weight is not on the heels but the toes.
- If you feel pain in the lower back during or after the exercise, it means that you are pushing your chest too much forward.
Air Squat Variations
Jumping Air Squats: After learning the correct form of air squat, if you are looking to add more athleticism and explosion, add jumping air squats. Get into an air squat position, and then use your hands to propel the body upwards. So when you are in a squat, the hands should be at the back. After you make the jump, land on your knees gently without stressing your joints. Landing softly also helps you prep for your next repetition.
Air Squats with Weights: Once the bodyweight squats become easy, it is time to challenge yourself by adding weights. It is called progressive overload and is helpful to build muscle mass and strength. Start with a simple squat, and then add barbells or dumbbells. If you are intimidated by the barbell, begin with the dumbbell air squats, simple but effective. It targets the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. The form and steps remain the same but do air squats with weights like dumbbells.
Pistol Squats with Weights: It is an advanced exercise that puts pressure on the knees. Start with your feet at shoulder-width distance. Keep your body straight and the shoulders back. Stretch the right leg and both arms out. Hinge your hips back and get into a squat by bending the left knee to the floor. Get as low as possible without losing balance. Slowly move back up and exhale.
Air squat is an ideal workout and part of all online fitness classes as it has great benefits for beginners and athletes looking for variety. It is a low-impact workout that is good on the back and knees. It also powers the legs and hence is an efficient exercise for everyone.
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