Air squat, also called a body weight squat, is one of most vital movements. This is regular squats without using additional weights. This exercise is often used to train endurance, fat burning and for increasing lower body strength and developing core strength and stability. It's important for all athletes of all levels and experience to learn how to squat properly and the best way to do it is to develop good mechanics while under no load.
Air squat is the most fundamental movement for anything in your daily life, for CrossFit we recognize it as the most important building block in our fitness foundation. It teaches us the importance of opening the hip.
How to do air squats:
- Assume a stance wider than shoulder width, with toes slightly facing sideways.
- Pull the shoulders back and keep the back straight.
- Stretch your arms out in front so they are parallel to the floor or place them behind the head (prisoner style).
- Inhale then bend the knees and lower the butt as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Keep the back straight and look forward throughout the set.
- Squat as low as your hip mobility allows. To get the most out of squats you should squat until the thighs rest on the calves. But this might not be possible for most beginners since they lack hip flexibility.
- Exhale as you slowly rise to return to starting position and repeat.
Common air squat mistakes to avoid:
Knees sliding inwards – Knees can slide inwards due to bad foot placement or weak leg muscles. Place your feet with toes slightly facing outwards to avoid this. If that still doesn’t work, strengthen your legs with chair squats.
Curving the back – The back should remain straight when doing squats. Curving the back can hurt the spine. Lock your spine and keep the back slightly arched. Looking forward and sticking the chest out helps maintain this posture.
Shallow squats – A wide range of motion makes squats (or any other exercise) more rewarding. Make sure you squat until the thighs are parallel to the floor. But for better results you should squat until the thighs rest on the calves