The Expert: Aly Teich is the founder of The Sweat Life, a weekly web series and online magazine that provides readers with an insider lens on all aspects of health, fitness and happiness and a fitness expert. "I'm very much about encouraging people to work out for the sake of feeling their best and living their best lives, and being the happiest they can be," says Teich. "There's nothing wrong with wanting to feel great in your skin and look a certain way — but if you're not happy and feeling good first, you're never going to be happy with how you look. Happiness is the key in terms of energy and longevity and for me."
The Moves: Though Teich believes that it's more important to work out and be healthy in order to achieve happiness and peace of mind, she also explains that doing squats — which target your glutes, quads and core — can benefit your bod in numerous ways.
"A lot of lower back and leg problems come from having weak glutes," she says. "So having glute strength is incredibly important to your overall body strength. You're also working out your core and your quads (the front of the leg), and if you're doing it correctly, you're working pretty much your whole leg. An added plus? Squats make your butt tighter and higher."
Jump squats, which are higher impact, also have the added benefit of utilizing "explosive motion," which Teich says is great for runners and anyone who wants to add a cardio element to their squats. In addition to building lower body strength, they can improve ankle stability and overall heart health.
Teich recommends doing 10 - 20 reps of each move, depending on where you are fitness-wise. Do three sets of each.
• Position your feet hip-width apart, with your toes facing forward.
• Be sure to engage your core and squeeze your butt, in order to ensure you're targeting the right areas and take the pressure off your back.
• Without letting your knees go in front of your toes, bend your knees and stick out your butt as if you're sitting down into a chair. Lean into your heels and keep your chest up and open. Your body should be positioned at a 90-degree angle.
• Make sure to continue squeezing your glutes on the way back up.
• If you're unsure whether your feet are facing exactly straight forward, it's ok to point your toes out a tiny bit. Never point them inwards.
• Holding your hands in a prayer pose will help you keep your balance.
• True beginners may find it helpful to practice doing squats with an actual chair behind them.
• Following the above instructions, get down into a basic squat pose.
• Once you're at your lowest position, push from your glutes and explode up into a jump.
• Make sure to land softly, and immediately back into a squat. Roll your foot as you land, starting with your toes and back into your heels.
• Throwing your arms back as you jump will help ensure that your body is correctly aligned.
• Never land a jump with straight legs, or flat on your feet.
• In order for the move to be effective, it's important to start low and jump high. Says Teich, "You can't just drop an inch and go up an inch. You want to go down into a good low squat to get that power to push up out of it."
The clothes: Teich is wearing pieces from Sweaty Betty, a UK-based activewear brand with a mission to provide women with workout clothes that make them feel both powerful and beautiful. Sweaty Betty has more than 50 stores in the US and UK, along with an e-commerce site. Specifically, Teich is wearing the Sweaty Betty Power Union Jack Leggings.