Ashley Graham react-text: 198 ‘s latest workout video is notable for two reasons. First, she’s sweating for charity with /react-text Community of Unity react-text: 200 , a nonprofit that mentors underserved NYC youth. Second, she’s the only one in the group of eleven who is squatting with a resistance band. /react-text
react-text: 210 The video was taken at celeb-favorite NYC gym Dogpound, which has /react-text partnered with react-text: 212 Community of Unity for two years. The initiative means “28 students… SMASH it [aka work out]each week in an uplifting environment that teaches growth, discipline, and drive.” The organization is even giving Dogpound /react-text an award react-text: 214 for all their help and partnership. /react-text
react-text: 216 We applaud Dogpound and Graham for working out for good—and we also /react-text needed react-text: 218 to know why Graham is the only one with a resistance band around her ankles. “Ashley hopped in for a quick set to support the girls of Community of Unity,” Dara Hart, Dogpound trainer, tells SELF. “She often utilizes a mini band when she squats to aid in her form, for mind-muscle awareness, increased range of motion, and activated glutes.” /react-text
react-text: 220 We also know that Graham is always down to take /react-text her workouts react-text: 222 to the next level, which is exactly what a resistance band can provide. “The obvious benefit is increased resistance, especially on the outer thighs,” Kristine Storie, owner of /react-text Xtend Barre Brooklyn react-text: 224 , tells SELF. /react-text
react-text: 226 The band can also help ensure perfect form during squats. It may be a staple movement, but the /react-text squat react-text: 228 is deceptively simple. I, for one, have been corrected on my form more times than I can count. That’s where the band comes in, says Storie. “The use of the band during squats will help to establish and maintain proper knee alignment, which is essential for performing a squat safely.” /react-text
react-text: 230 Beginners who want to squat as textbook perfect as Graham should focus on two areas, Storie says the knees and spine. “Knee alignment can go awry in two ways when performing squats,” she says. First, be careful not to let your knees cave in. The knee should be in line with your second and third toe when moving down into a squat. The resistance band can help here: It will go slack if your knees cave in, meaning you’re more likely to notice any alignment issues. Second, keep your knees directly on top of your ankles. Storie tells students to keep the shin bone at a 90-degree angle with the floor. Use your hamstrings and glutes to power you up, which keeps your knees safe /react-text and react-text: 232 works your backside. /react-text
Now that your knees are in check and in line, it’s time to focus on the spine. “Maintain the natural shape of the spine throughout the squat,” says Storie. This doesn’t usually mean that your back is stick-straight—a natural spine has a slight curve at the lower back. Brace your core and maintain that natural spine curvature as you lower down—don’t round your back.
react-text: 235 Graham’s perfect form and added resistance are definitely inspirational, but what we like most is her commitment to the community. Learn more about /react-text how to find volunteer opportunities and organizations react-text: 237 to support. /react-text