No matter how knowledgeable you are about fitness, you're still susceptible to finding yourself stuck in an exercise rut. After training on my own for a long period of time, I noticed my post-leg day aches and pains slowly diminish. When adding weights and adjusting my reps didn't help, I felt completely discouraged and started avoiding my leg workouts altogether.
When I got the opportunity to work out with star trainer Helle Hammonds at the launch of Venus's new Swirl razor, I jumped at the chance. And I was right to; not only did I get the leg-day session of my life, but Helle also diagnosed the one thing my squats were lacking: intensity.
My form was great, I was no stranger to added weights or high reps, but I wasn't giving myself enough time to go through the motions of the exercise — especially squats. I was rushing down into the squat and straightening back up just as quickly, not giving my muscles time to really stretch or contract.
If you suspect you're doing the same, the remedy is simple: count slowly up to three as you squat down, thinking of one as your starting point, two as you're lowering, and three as the point your butt is parallel to the ground. Do the same as you return to starting position and repeat with every rep.
Along with the right form, counting yourself in and out of your squat will take your leg days to another level regardless of whether you're using your own body weight or added weights for more resistance.