Having trouble learning air squats? Build a strong, solid set of legs by mastering the air squat and its variations!
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In this article:
Everything Beginners Need to Know About Mastering Air Squats
What Are Air Squats?
Air squats or bodyweight squats are some of the most basic calisthenics exercises there are. It’s a fundamental workout move gym-goers of all levels should perform no matter what their workout goal is.
This move primarily targets the quads and glutes while simultaneously engaging the hamstrings and calves. If done properly, it can increase both muscle growth and strength.
Of course, one can only reap the benefits of this exercise if they assume the proper air squat form. Ignoring the correct posture and positioning will only lead to injuries.
How to Do Air Squats
Step 1: Warm Up
Before performing any exercise, it’s important to warm up the muscles beforehand. Not only will this prevent injuries, but it can also improve athletic performance and joint flexibility.
Some good warm-up routines before busting out some air squats include lower body HIIT exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, and jumping jacks.
Just remember not to overwork the muscles to avoid fatigue. Do not go over 10 to 15 reps for every warm-up exercise to ensure peak muscular performance.
Step 2: Get into the Starting Position
Assume a shoulder-width apart stance with arms crossed across the chest, feet pointed forward, knees slightly bent, chest pumped out, and eyes locked straight in front. This is the starting position.
Step 3: Squat Down
Once the body is in the proper position, it’s time to do a squat. Lower the body down by bending the knees until they hit a 90-degree angle.
Throughout the move, keep the back straight, chest pumped out, and eyes forward. Also, make sure to plant the feet firmly on the ground to avoid hurting the knees.
Tip: Do not let the knees go past the toes when squatting down.
Step 4: Push the Body Back Up
Once the thighs are parallel to the ground, contract the legs for one count before pushing the body back up. For maximum power, drive the heels through the floor until the body is back to the starting position.
This counts as one rep. Perform three to four sets of around 15 to 20 reps for maximum muscle growth.
Benefits of Air Squats
Here are some of the reasons why fitness buffs should master air or bodyweight squats:
- Intro to Squats: Doing air squats is a great way to prepare the body for more intense leg exercises. Once one masters this move, it’s much easier for him or her to try other squat variations that involve dumbbells and barbells.
- Increased Athletic Performance: A strong set of legs is key to a lot of sporting activities like basketball, football, boxing, and wrestling. Doing a few sets of air squats at least twice or thrice a week will definitely aid in improving one’s overall athletic performance.
- Muscular Development: Squats are intense compound exercises that engage almost every lower body muscle group. To maximize its muscle-building effects, gym-goers should try adding some resistance once they master bodyweight squats.
The Best Squat Variations
Air squats are great, but no gym-goer will achieve their goals by simply doing the same moves every single day. Keep in mind that the only way for one to grow is to continuously increase the intensity of his or her exercise routine or change up the exercises.
Fitness buffs who want to ramp up their leg day workout routine can try these intense squat variations:
1. Barbell Squat
Barbell squats are compound exercises that help increase muscle growth and strength. It’s basically the same as an air squat but with a barbell stacked across the shoulders for increased difficulty.
Muscles Worked: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves
- Stand under a squat rack with feet shoulder-width apart, place the bar behind the neck across the shoulders, slightly bend the knees, and then pump the chest out.
- Grab the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from the body) and lift the bar off the rack.
- Take a deep breath and then squat down until the thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Hold for one count before pushing the body back up by driving the feet through the ground.
2. Jump Squats
Jump Squats GIF by Giphy
These are plyometric exercises that focus on strength and athletic performance. The goal here is to create quick, explosive movements with very minimal rest between sets.
What are plyometric exercises? These are exercises that require a person to exert maximum force within short time intervals. The goal of plyometric exercises is to increase power.
Muscles Worked: Whole body
- Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart, arms straight in front, and eyes locked forward.
- Bend the knees to lower the body down to a squat position.
- From there, jump up as high as possible while swinging the arms backward for more momentum.
- For added force, make sure to push the balls of the feet through the ground.
- Land back into the starting position and then repeat.
3. Frog Squats
Similar to jump squats, frog squats are plyometric exercises that help burn fat and build athletic performance. The only difference is frog squats put more emphasis on the hamstrings than the quads.
Muscles Worked: Whole body
- Stand upright with the arms hanging in front and feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Get down to a frog squat position where the knees bend at 90 degrees, feet point outward, and the hands are on the floor. This is the starting position.
- From there, propel the body up in the air and jump as high as possible while swinging the arms up.
- Land on the floor back to the frog squat position.
Looking for proper technique and movements of doing air squats? Watch this video from CrossFit®:
The air squat is a basic calisthenics move that can help one no matter what one’s fitness goals are. It mainly develops lower body muscle mass, athletic performance, and even core strength!
Gym-goers can try incorporating air squats into their routine at least two to three times a week for best results. Also, to speed up the benefits of these exercises, make sure to explore effective supplement programs using protein, creatine, and amino acids!
Are you having trouble mastering air squats? Let us know your questions in the comments section below!