Squats are a common part of a CrossFit workout routine.
You should know how to do an Air Squat properly to target the right muscle groups.
So, what are Air Squats? The Air Squat or the Bodyweight Squat is an efficient lower-body exercise. Unlike regular Squats, Air Squats don’t require using weights like dumbbells. You use your own body weight when performing the exercise. The Air Squat targets your thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes.
Air Squats are an excellent exercise to learn the proper squat form.
Once you slay this workout, you can add some weights to level up your training.
What Is a Bodyweight Squat?
Air Squats and Bodyweight Squats are the same exercises. This type of squats is called Bodyweight as you use your body weight only. That’s a squat without added weight. The Bodyweight Squat is ideal to learn the proper form when squatting. Control the full-body position to target the right muscles.
The Air Squat is a great exercise for beginners. It’s a popular exercise in a CrossFit workout plan. You can perform Air Squat at your home gym flawlessly. As no equipment is needed. Once you nail the Bodyweight Squat, you can try weighted squats.
Proper Bodyweight Squat Form Explained
Use the proper form when performing squats. This will activate essential muscles and lower the risk of injury. Don’t forget to warm up and stretch before doing Air Squats.
So, how to do an Air Squat? Get to the standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes are slightly outward. Brace your core while squatting. That will help you to keep your back straight. Put the shoulder blades together to push your chest out. That’s your starting position.
Get to the squat position like when you sit on a chair. Your hips are slightly hinged backward. Don’t lean forward. Your heels are your pivot point to avoid hinging forward.
Keep your lower back fixed. The feet are flat on the ground the entire time. Don’t raise your heels off the floor when squatting. The hip line must be lower than the knee line when you’re at the bottom position. Get the proper squat depth out of your range of motion. Make a pause for a second or two.
Now get back to the starting point. Drive through your heels to stand up. You should feel your glutes and thighs well. Squeeze your glutes when returning to the standing position. That’s one rep. Do 10-12 reps per set. If you’re into HIIT workout for weight loss and strength training, squat for 30-60 seconds with no pauses in between.
Air Squats: Mistakes You Should Avoid
When doing Air Squats, pay attention to the proper form. Here are even more tips on how to keep the proper form to hit your fitness goals.
- Make sure your knees don’t overgo your toes when you squat.
- Before squatting, your foot position is flat with toes pointed slightly outward. This position will prevent knee pain.
- Don’t arch your back. Brace your core to keep your torso secured.
- Check your shoulders. Don’t hinge them forward. Your arms are not targeted when you squat. And your lower body is working efficiently.
- Keep your head in a natural position. Your face is looking forward when performing. This will help to push your chest forward.
- Drive through your heels as a pivot point. The workload is focused on your legs. You should feel your thighs and glutes when doing Air Squats.
- If you feel knee pain, perhaps you’re squatting too low. Check your form again.
- Don’t put much load on your toes. Your heels must do the most work.
- Keep your thighs lower than parallel to the floor.
- If you feel back pain, perhaps you’re leaning forward too much. Keep your torso more upright in this case. Don’t hinge your chest too much.
The Main Benefits of Air Squats
Air Squats are a superb exercise when it comes to a leg day. Boost your lower-body with a low-impact workout. Here are the common benefits of Air Squats.
1. Great Squat Learner
The Air Squat is a perfect exercise to get the proper squat form. Beginner athletes may start with such a workout. Once you’ve mastered it, you can perform weighted squats. These include Barbell Squats, Dumbbell Squats, and Kettlebell Squats. There are even more variations.
2. Low-Impact Training
Air Squats require no equipment. You use your own body weight to create resistance movement. That’s a safe fitness routine as there’s less load on your joints. Air Squats are perfect for athletes with weak knees and back pain. There’s less risk of injury with such a squat variation.
3. Improve Your Strength and Balance
Even though Air Squats use no added weight, it still improves your strength foundation. Squats are highly beneficial for amping up your legs. The exercise targets thighs, hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes. It helps to burn fat and gain muscle mass in these zones in particular.
Improved leg strength affects the overall body strength. You can perform resistance training with added weights over time. And cardio training like rowing or running on a treadmill is no longer challenging. Such squats are great for developing balance too.
5. Strengthen Your Core
While doing the Air Squats, your core must be squeezed. This helps to keep your torso fixed and avoid a rounded back. Besides, the exercise requires a solid balance. This is also advantageous for core strength.
6. Fat Burner
Air Squats are related to functional movement. It is important for muscle building and entire fitness training. The Squats are highly-intensive exercises. It boosts your legs immensely.
Amping up your muscles leads to metabolism increasing. With improved metabolism, you burn calories and lose weight. Adding weights over time will boost your metabolism even better. And you’ll end up burning even more calories. But don’t forget to add workload gradually.
Air Squats vs Squats: What’s the Difference?
How to distinguish Air Squats vs Squats? Air Squats require using your body weight only. While regular Squats are usually performed with added weights like dumbbells or a kettlebell. When squatting, feel your glutes and things are working. Learn how to squat with Air Squats first. Then move on to regular weighted Squats.
Air Squats are likely to provide a greater range of motion. Make a deep squat so your hips are lower than your knees. Regular Squats might be prohibited for people with back issues. Ask your personal trainer or a doctor whether it’s better to perform body weight Squats. Perhaps, both of the variations are better to get off the table.
Anyway, Air Squats provide a lesser risk of a knee injury. Your shoulder and leg mobility is improved. Such an exercise improves body strength and coordination. Add the Squats to your workout plan for weight loss.
Squat Variations You Should Also Try
Apart from Air Squats, you may consider other options.
1. Barbell Squats
Place the barbell on the power rack at the desired height. Load some weight plates if needed. Take the bar off the rack to place it on your shoulders behind you. Take a few steps back off the rack. Keep your stance with your feet shoulder-width apart with toes pointed slightly out.
Your hands are bent in elbows pointed downward. Your hands keep the bar fixed on your shoulders. The palms face the front. That’s your starting point.
Brace your core and glutes while performing. Squat as you sit on a chair. Your hip line is lower than your knees to reach the full squat. The knees don’t go over the toe line. The torso is slightly leaned forward. Your head is in a natural position looking forward. Make a pause for a second and get back to the start point.
Your weight is on your heels as a pivot point. Keep your feet flat all the time. Drive through your heels to stand up. Your arms are bent holding the barbell throughout the exercise. Do 10-12 reps per set.
2. Front Squats with Dumbbells
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. The dumbbells are at shoulder height parallel to each other. The elbows are bent. That’s your starting position.
Get down to the squat position until the thighs are parallel to the floor. The feet are on the floor. Don’t lean your knees over the toes. Get back to the standing position. Repeat 6-10 times per set.
Holding dumbbells by the shoulders promotes core strengthening. Placing the weights in front of you brings more workload on your quads.
Here are even more efficient exercises with dumbbells.
3. Goblet Squats with a Kettlebell
Set the weight in front of your body. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with toes slightly outward.
Take the kettlebell with both hands holding it with the handle. Lift your hands and place the weight under your chin. If using a dumbbell, hold it vertically with your hands grasping the top of the weight. So the item is in front of your chest. That’s your starting position.
Get to the squat position with your legs bent at the knees. Keep your weight on the heels. There’s a 90-degree angle with a knee bent. Your elbows touch your knees. Make sure your lower back and hips are hinged backward. Your knees don’t go over the toe line.
When doing the Goblet Squat, brace your core. Your back is upright throughout the movement. Squeeze your glutes when standing up with the ball. Drive the heels into the floor. Extend your hips and knees to stand up. Get back to the start position. Do 10-12 reps per set.
4. Deep Squats
Such squats are beneficial for improving flexibility. What is a Deep Squat? The Deep Squat is performed with your knees creating a 120-degree angle or more. So your hip line goes below the knee line. And your bottom almost touches the floor. Here’s how to do the Deep Squat. You can do it with weights or no equipment at all.
Keep your feet flat on the floor all the time. Your back is in a natural upright position, don’t arch it. Keep your stance as wide as shoulder-width apart. The toes are pointed slightly out. That’s your starting point.
Squat like when you sit down on a chair. Go on squatting and perform the exercise to the fullest of your range of motion. You’re nearly to touch the floor. Your hips are much lower than your knees. Feel your glutes when performing Deep Squats. Get back to the standing position. Do 10-12 reps per set.
5. Split Squats with Dumbbells
Stand up and get the dumbbells placing them by your sides. Squeeze your core and keep your back straight. Lower one leg till the knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Then push the leg back to the start point. Crave a more challenging exercise? Place one foot on a bench and squat.
Performing squats with dumbbells is a new level. They bring more power as well as balance. You’ll feel your glutes are on fire while exercising. Push your heels up when standing up to activate proper muscles. Do 10-12 reps per set.
The Bodyweight Squat Form and Benefits Revealed
Looking for leg workout ideas? Try the Air Squat. That’s a top-notch exercise that will teach you how to squat properly. Such Squats are perfect for beginners. Besides, advanced athletes can benefit from the workout too.
Air Squats are loved for a variety of health benefits. It’s a low-impact exercise that doesn’t overload your knees and back. It improves your strength and balance. The Squats are advantageous for your core strength as well. Get your legs boosted with such an efficient exercise.