Long before squats became an internet meme, they were just an efficient way to build lower body strength. If you’ve been turned off by visions of 80-kilo weights (and buff bodies asking “Do you even lift?”) we don’t blame you – but it’s time to swallow your pride. Why? Because squats are really, really good for you.

The squat is a compound exercise that puts your entire body through a real-world range of motion. Squats develop your glutes, quads and hamstrings, creating a strong and balanced lower body that will help you move safely and efficiently. They also encourage flexibility through the complex hip joint and improve mobility in your knees, ankles and feet. The takeaway? Correct squat technique will not only help tone your core, legs and bum, it will also reduce your risk of injury when running, playing team sports or just lifting boxes around the house.

No matter what your level of strength or fitness, there’s a variety of squat – from bodyweight to single-leg, wall to weighted – that will work for you. But before hitting the squat rack, it’s crucial that you understand your body’s biomechanics and learn proper technique. Get a qualified trainer or weightlifting coach to show you the ropes, and if you’re noticing pain or muscle imbalances while squatting be sure to seek advice from a professional.

Raw Energy is partnered with Gold’s Gym – the worlds leading strength and performance Gym – for all fitness-related content.

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