Updated November 5, 2023
Last week we started off our discussion with squat safety. This week we pick up with the next step in mastering this all important, functional and foundational movement:
The Mighty Air Squat
In the realm of CrossFit, mastering the basics paves the way to achieving the extraordinary. Among the foundational movements revered in our community, the Air Squat reigns supreme. Its simplicity, accessibility, and potent impact on building lower body and core strength make it an indispensable part of any CrossFitter’s repertoire.
Here, we’ll dive into the essence of the Air Squat, illustrating its vital role in honing your CrossFit prowess.
The Air Squat Unveiled
Air Squats are more than just a beginner’s move—they’re a staple, a benchmark of your functional fitness. The beauty lies in their simplicity: no equipment, no fancy setups, just you against gravity.
Here’s how to knock them out:
- Starting Stance: Position yourself with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and arms reaching forward or overhead.
- The Descent: Hinge at the hips, sending them backward as your knees begin to bend. Keep your chest lifted, back neutral, and eyes forward.
- Depth Challenge: Aim to get your hips below knee level while keeping your heels glued to the ground. Your mobility is your only limit here.
- The Ascent: Drive through your heels, returning to a full stand with hips fully extended.
For a quick workout: Repeat for reps, targeting 3 sets of 10 to 15 to start, and gradually elevating your game as your strength and mobility soar.
For beginners, you can start with a limited range of motion (if needed) and build up as your flexibility and strength improve.
Benefits – Gains from the Grind
The dividends from dedicating time to master the Air Squat are colossal:
- Muscle Mastery: Hammer the quads, hamstrings, and glutes while roping in the core for a full-on muscle recruitment fiesta.
- Flexibility Frontier: Expand your range in the hips, knees, and ankles—a trinity of joints crucial for almost every CrossFit endeavor.
- Calorie Crush: Ramp up your metabolic engine, torching calories while fortifying your foundation.
- Balance and Bearing: Forge a rock-solid core and lower body to enhance your balance and posture, elements vital to excelling in CrossFit.
- Low-Impact, High Reward: A gentle yet fierce ally for your joints, making it a daily doable regardless of your fitness level.
Air squats are a simple yet highly effective exercise that provides physical and mental benefits when practiced consistently. Start light, focus on form, and build your strength over time.
Pitfalls – Dodging the Derailers
Even seasoned CrossFitters can fall prey to some common squat snags:
- Core Collapse: Keep that core braced as if ready to take a punch, safeguarding your spine.
- Knee Nuisance: Ensure your knees track over your toes, nixing any inward collapse.
- Shallow Squats: Strive for depth but heed your body’s call. Depth with dismal form is a disservice to your progress.
Variations – Elevate Your Air Squat Endeavors
The Air Squat is just the beginning. As you advance, the world of squat variations opens up, each with its own set of benefits and challenges:
- Volume Victory: Tackle more reps and sets as your fortress of muscles fortifies.
- Jump the Gun: Add a spirited jump at the top of each squat to spike the intensity.
- Weighted Warfare: Once your form is unshakeable, introduce dumbbells or a barbell to the mix, scaling the challenge upward.
- Pistol Perfection: The pistol squat is the one-legged variant of the air squat, introducing a balance and strength challenge.
- Box Squat Balance: Utilize a box to master the depth and form of your squat, gradually reducing the height as your mobility improves.
In the theater of CrossFit, the Air Squat is both an opening act and a recurring character on your path to fitness sovereignty. It’s a microcosm of the CrossFit ethos—basic, gritty, and profoundly effective.
As you squat, ascend, and conquer, you’re not just building a robust lower body and core; you’re crafting a foundation sturdy enough to stand up to any CrossFit challenge thrown your way.
So, every time you drop into that squat, envision the powerhouse you’re sculpting, rep by rep, set by set. Your CrossFit odyssey is punctuated with squats; make every one count towards your ascension to athleticism.
If you want to blast your butt and thighs, the air squat can’t be beat.
Our series continues with: Back Squats