The squat is one of the best exercises for sculpting a strong, tight backside. It strengthens the muscles of your lower body, including your hips, glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, engages the muscles of your core, and helps improve your balance and coordination — but that's only if you're loose enough to complete the move correctly.
In order to get the most out of the exercise, you want to get low. The deeper into the squat you go, the more muscles you'll engage, and the more effective it becomes, explains fitness trainer and nutrition coach Adam Rosante. Here's where your high-strung hips cause problems; tightness in that area interferes with your flexibility and range of motion, which can cause sloppy form.
The solution is as simple as tweaking your foot positioning: Place your heels shoulder-width apart and turn your toes out slightly, as if pointing towards the 11 and one on a clock. Rosante explains that the wider stance opens hips a bit more, allowing for a deeper range of motion as you lower into the squat. And, turning toes out slightly helps keep your knees from buckling inward. Aim to get your hips below knee-level while maintaining the natural curve of your spine and keeping your chest lifted.
"When you improve your mobility and range of motion, you get a more effective workout, both functionally and aesthetically, and you also help defend your body against minor injuries that can stack up to some bigger problems later in life," Rosante says.
If this simple form tweak is all it takes to see better results and ward off future aches, why wouldn't you give it a try? (Next time you get a break from your desk chair, that is.)