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Squats, squats and more squats

Squats are most definitely one of the best exercises you can do. Not only do they increase your heart rate thus helping to burn fat but they give you a really good bum! 

Far too many times I see people not doing squats properly, now I don’t claim to be the queen of squats and sometimes I’ve heard the ‘no rep’ from my coach but It is important to squat properly, to reap the benefits and to avoid injury.


I used to squat when I went to the gym by myself but never really knew how to complete a squat properly. You might think oh a squats easy, anyone can do it but you’d be wrong there can be lots of factors that prevent people from being able to squat.

After I started crossfit, I began to follow a programme with my partner Josh and soon saw my squat numbers increase by quite a margin. After all a good squat is crucial in so many crossfit movements from wall balls, olympic lifts to thrusters and even box jumps. If you know how to move well through a squat movement then you have a good base.

  I followed the Smolov program whilst training with my other half and my 1rm went from 100kg to 115kg which I was super happy with. If you want a link to Smolov have a look here, you work out your percentages and then go from there it’s a great programme that can help to increase your numbers. I followed the junior program.

Ok so tips for a good squat. First you need to begin with a basic air squat.

Feet on the floor standing straight. Then push your bum backwards and squat down, you need to make sure your knees track in alignment with your toes and that your hips break parallel. If you struggle with the latter then try working on your ankle range and if you really find it tricky try squatting onto a bench or med ball first to develop better range. The ought the movement keep your weight on your heels and your back straight, try to engage your core. 

If you have a good air squat then build this up until your confident to move with a bar. Now I go for a high bar hold meaning I balance the bar quite high up on my back but this is just what feels comfortable for me you may prefer to have the bar resting lower.

Then complete your squat the same as you did with the air squat. Keep your core tight and knee tracking over your toes. You don’t want to see this at the bottom of your squat  

Here my left knee in particular is not where it should be!

Make sure you increase the weight only when you are comfortable with what you are doing. I rarely attempt 1rm but spend a lot of time working around 65-85% of my max. 

If you can squat and keep your heels flat on the floor then great, if you think you may need some help then invest in some lifting shoes but remember they don’t do all the work for you! 

Points to remember 

  • Knees tracking over toes
  • Feet shoulder width apart or wider if you prefer a ️Powerlifting stance
  • Engage your core
  • Tight back, engage your upper back
  • Weight on heels
  • Hips below parallel 


Training in London

This weekend I am spending time in the big city which means time away from my double daily training sessions and a little bit of a rest. 

I had today, Sunday as an active rest day and didn’t step foot in a gym. Instead we pounded the pavements and walked around the city checking out all of the sights. 

We also stopped off in St James park where we cought glimpses of the London- Surrey 100mile bike ride. It was a beautiful day and was nice to soak up some vitamin D.

Yesterday I needed to workout so I visited a gym located under the railway by Waterloo station. Soho gyms are a London chain of gyms with 8 gyms across the city. The gym was spacious with lots of equipment tucked away in various areas and rooms under the arches. It was quite quiet and as it was a commercial gym I decided I would have a strength focus for my session. 

My 1 rep max back squat is 135kg but as I haven’t squatted heavy since my injury I decided to squat at 80kg. I did a rep scheme of 10reps, right down to 1 rep so a total of 55reps. 

I can’t recommend back squats enough, especially for the girls! It’s a brilliant exercise for your legs and bum, in fact I believe it is the best exercise out there for your behind. In addition a good squat is crucial for many other movements, especially in crossfit, such as the clean and the snatch.

I then moved on to strict shoulder press at 40kg where I did 5×5 reps. I enjoy shoulder press and I think it builds a good basic strength in the shoulders that can be adapted to jerks and overhead movements. 

Soho gym
The squats definitely did their job because I can feel it in my quads and the top of my legs/bum today which is good. Overall the gym was great, I like the quirkiness of it being underneath the train line and the trainers were welcoming. 

If you want to visit its £13.00 for a day pass or £55 for the month. 

I wanted to check out Crossfit but unfortunately did have time, will make sure I do next time. I did however, have time to eat at nice restaurants and visit M&M world! 


Isn’t London beautiful…


A gymnasts relationship with food

As a gymnast for the majority of my childhood I spent most of my spare time in Lycra! I also got weighed weekly during the ages of 12-16, which for any girl is not a good idea. I can remember standing on the trampoline and my coach saying ‘have you put on weight, you look fuller’ and then not understanding why I cried. I also remember running around the gym doing laps because my coach could ‘grab’ too much around my middle. being weighed every Friday and being afraid of the extra conditioning we would receive if we put on weight, meant that we would reduce our intake on Wednesday, Thursday and then after being weighed would go crazy on a Saturday with doughnuts and sweets! I understand that for gymnastics you need to have an effective power to weight ratio but being punished for putting on 1lb and having to run wearing ankle weights, does not promote a healthy relationship with food. 
As such when I started weightlifting and crossfit I naturally put on weight, muscle. This freaked me out when I stepped on the scales and has taken me until about a month ago to accept that I am going to weigh more. I now weigh 70kgs, when I competed in gymnastics I was 62kg. But I think I look better, leaner and my body fat is 14%, aside from that I feel healthier than ever. Watching the crossfit games and seeing so many fantastic female athletes that are strong and powerful is so inspirational. 

Annie Thorisdottir 👇👇👇  
Ive learnt that in order for my body to do what I need it to, it needs to be fuelled. I’ve increased what I’ve been eating, I’ve never been one to count calories but I make sure I eat regularly 4 times a day. I’ve also began to feel when my body needs more and even though sometimes I don’t feel like eating, I know that my body needs it. 

Me now 👇  
I wish that the information had been available to me when I competed in trampolining. Instead I used to skip meals and eat as little as possible, even binge eating. I also wish that better information could be available to the general public, specifically young girls.

Now I try to follow the paleo way of eating, this is known as caveman diet and involves eating natural food that’s not processed. I find this really easy as I can just go into a shop and look at what I could ‘hunt or gather’ rather than checking the labels for calories. People say ‘what do you eat?!’ Well I eat plenty of eggs, chicken, natural yoghurt, berries, spinach etc and I love it! Sometimes I crave a sweet treat and I let myself have it because we’re all human and I do love pick n mix 😉 


Fresh face 

I’ve always struggled with my skin and always suffered with outbreaks since being a teenager. This is trickier to control when I do so much physical activity. I enjoy wearing make up, but in a hot and sweaty gym this sometimes isn’t good for my skin.

Recently I’ve tried Garniers micellar water and it’s amazing! Over the years I’ve tried so many products, face scrubs, face masks etc but this water is so cleansing. I use it every morning and every night on a cotton pad and it also removes eye make up which is great! 

It’s currently £2.66 for 400ml at tesco and I would definitely recommend giving it a go! 

Micellar water