Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, squats are one of the most common exercises found in a workout regime. They strengthen your core while working those hamstrings, quads, hips and glutes, and also have bonus upsides like improved balance and coordination, and better bone density.

On the flip side, squats can be a real pain and cause knee injuries if they aren’t done right. Here’s a step-by-step to help you master the exercise:

1) Stand erect with your feet shoulder width apart, toes facing slightly outward, shoulders back and chest out.


2) Stretch out your arms in front of you so that they are parallel to the ground, with your palms facing downwards.


3) Slowly move your hips back and downward as you bend your knees. Maintain alignment with a straight back, chest and shoulders upright, and face and eyes forward. For best results, let your butt sink lower than your knees, almost like you were sitting on a low-slung chair.


4) Push your body’s weight to the heels, clench your butt, and use your core muscles to slowly come back up.


Caution: To reduce risk of injury, never lock your knees when you stand back up. Always stop just before, and move on to the next rep.

In order to get the best lower body workout, drop as low as possible to engage several muscle groups. When done right, doing squats can burn up to 108 calories in 15 minutes.