But just because a workout move is well-known, great for beginners, or popular, doesn't necessarily mean it's easy or that there's no room for error. When you're in an actual gym or studio, your trainer is there to catch your air squat mistake, but unfortunately, that personalized correction isn't always there when you're in your living room doing your own thing. So, to help you fine-tune this powerhouse move, we reached out to obé fitness instructor and NASM-certified personal trainer Walter Kemp.
First, you should know the benefits of actually performing the move. "The main muscles targeted when doing an air squat are in the lower body: gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius, also quads, hamstrings, and calves," Kemp says. "But, if done properly, the core can be another main component."
You get a lot of the move — hence why it's so popular in so many workouts. According to Kemp, the rules of thumb to remember when doing air squats are to keep the weight in the back of the heels, your chest up, your core engaged, and to squeeze at the top of the movement.
You also might benefit from setting mental reminders on what to avoid. While Kemp is clear that we all make mistakes (and that's OK!), some common form mishaps to watch out for (and self-correct!) include turning your toes in, having your knees going forward, and not having control of your core. Whether you're trying air squats for the first time or are focused on acing your form, check out Kemp's visual guide below.
On top of keeping your weight on your heels and your shoulders pulled back, he says your feet should be hip-width apart with your toes slightly pointing outward, your knees should be externally rotated toward the toes, and your butt, back, and core muscles should all be engaged throughout the entire movement.
Kemp adds, "when life gets hard, don't give up — modify!" So, if you need to make a modification, Kemp suggests slowing down the tempo of the squat. "Focus on the downward part of the movement. Go slower, pause at the bottom, then push up. Also, try them with a medicine ball against a wall. Going halfway down can also relieve pressure from the knees and hamstrings."