Squats are one of the most common exercises recommended by everyone from fitness gurus to yoga teachers. We’ve all done squats! But if it’s been a while since your P.E. teacher made you do squats in gym class, you might be asking yourself if it’s worth getting back into your old routine. Science about the effectiveness of certain exercises and diets is always changing. If you are trying to build the routine for the body that you want (or maybe you just hate doing squats,) you might find yourself asking, “Do air squats really work?”

And the answer is…it depends on what you mean by “work.” Learn more about how squats can help you build muscle, burn fat throughout the body, and what it takes to do a “real” squat.

Air Squats (Alone) Can’t Burn Butt Fat

Let’s start with the “bad” news first. Doing 50 squats a day is not going to suddenly build you the butt of a Kardashian.

We all have areas of our body that are a little more flabby than we’d like. Unfortunately, trying to exercise and hit one singular area won’t give you isolated results. If you want to burn fat around one area of the body, you will end up burning fat around many different areas of the body. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but it’s something to be conscious of when you are building workouts around specific goals.

That includes butt fat. Burning butt fat is a common goal for men and women alike. If this is one of your fitness goals, air squats will certainly help you get there. Squats will help to tone the muscles around the butt, but you will have to include other fat-burning exercises and habits into your routine. For example, we recommend reducing the amount of fat in your diet (or adding more protein) to replace flabby fat with lean and toned muscles.

Don’t forget that squats will help you target the growth of butt muscle. If you want a stronger butt that feels tighter when you flex, don’t leave squats out of your routine.

Air Squats Can Get Your Into a Heart-Pumping Routine

Don’t write off squats just because they are not a magical standalone exercise to burn butt fat. They are certainly a great place to start if you are getting into a new exercise routine. After all, they are commonly found in HIIT routines. HIIT classes and routines give participants a rousing workout made up of heart-pumping exercises and short rests. Just a few minutes of intense HIIT can boost your metabolic rate for the rest of the day.

Why Squats Are So Beneficial

Squats are found in HIIT routines because they can be done anywhere, anytime, and hit a few different areas of the body. We often associate squats with the butt and legs, but they aren’t the only parts of the body that are working. Our legs have to bend and straighten in order to complete the squat, but meanwhile, our abs are also working. The lower parts of the abdominals need to keep us balanced while we are moving. If you move your arms or hold weights during the squat, your upper body also puts in some effort.

Luckily, weights aren’t necessary to complete a squat. You use no equipment at all; squats require the lifting and moving of your body weight. As you start to gain muscle weight, these squats become harder and harder. Bodyweight exercises are a great way to develop a lean, toned body and improve your overall health.

Now, let’s get squatting!

What is The Perfect Form for Air Squats?

Squats put the whole body to work, including sensitive joints and big muscle groups. If you do not do air squats properly, you may not get the full effect of the exercise (or you could hurt yourself!) Here is the best way to perform an air squat:

  1. Stand with your feet planted firmly on the ground, slightly wider than your hips. (You can check by placing two fists between your feet.)
  2. Point your toes slightly out.
  3. Roll your shoulders back and face straight ahead so that the top of your head is parallel with the floor. Arms can be straight out in front of you, or bent with the elbows tucked in.
  4. Tighten your core and push out your butt. (Lead with your butt, not your knees, throughout the squat!)
  5. Start to bend your knees. Keep your chest and spine straight as you bend.
  6. Keep your knees in line with your feet throughout the squat. As you practice squats more often, you will be able to tell where your knees are without looking. If you are just starting out, watch the position of your knees as you squat.
  7. Keep bending until you feel that your hips are below your knees. You can keep bending deeper if you would like, but don’t stop before your hips are parallel with the floor.
  8. Straighten your legs and get ready for another round!

You can also add arm movements if you want to work your upper body, but this is not a requirement. Once you have completed your desired number of reps, don’t forget to stretch. Stretch out the lower body with lizard lunges, the “Pigeon Pose,” and other stretches targeted for the glutes and quadriceps.

Ready To Take Your Squats to the Next Level?

Air squats are often labeled as a “beginner squat,” even though they can be quite challenging! If you are ready to move on to a more intense exercise, we recommend teaming up with a personal trainer and bringing some weights into your squats. Even if you just add some small hand weights into your daily squat practice, you can bring more weight into the move.

Want More HIIT Exercises? Check Out a Group Class.

Squats are often a small piece of a larger HIIT routine. There are many examples of HIIT routines online, but if you have not done a HIIT class before, we recommend completing these exercises in the presence of a trained instructor. After all, squats are more fun when you’re doing them with a big group!

Have fun squatting!

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