Every client, every class, every workout, every programme; squats are my “go to” exercise. For men and women alike, a squat is considered one the most important movements to train and improve your body. But why? Is it all just another fitness fashion statement or is the science theory ready to prove the incomparable importance of squats!?
Squats in a nutshell:
- In a squat there are numerous muscles of the body working in unison to provide the stability and mobility needed for this movement. It has been suggested that there are up to (and possibly more than) 200 muscles involved in this lift.
- Squats can increase growth throughout the body by stimulating more muscle fibers than most other exercises. The greater the fiber recruitment, the greater the process for activating and potentially remodelling muscles.
- Every muscle cell burns around 3 times more calories than a fat cell, the more muscle you have the quicker you burn fat.
- Legs are the biggest muscle groups in the body, therefore using them will burn the most fat.
- Squats are a resistance exercise that aid in increasing the speed of the body’s metabolism.
- Women will not become “bulky” through performing resistance exercises naturally (contrary to popular belief) as their testosterone levels are too low.
- The stability and core muscles the body uses during a squat will improve back and abdominal strength.
- A squat is a functional, compound exercise; therefore they will assist in promoting good functionality in everyday life.
- Squats shape a beautiful feminine figure for ladies and build muscle fast for men. While helping both strip off unwanted fat.
Tips on squatting correctly:
- Never let your knees come over your toes.
- Keep your heels on the floor.
- Push your body weight back and down.
- Embrace your core.
- Eyes need to face comfortably forwards.
- Relax shoulders down, while squeezing shoulder blades together to engage back.
- Think about which muscles you want to be firing (GLUTES GLUTES GLUTES!)
- Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the floor.
- Tilt from the hips, you really won’t be able to stay upright.
- Keep a neutral spine (think about keeping it straight, do not over extend, remember everyone’s backs are shaped differently).
- Ask a professional for help!
Types of squats:
- Body weight squat
- Wide squat
- Narrow squat
- Back squat
- Front squat
- Single legged squat
- Split squat
- Twisting squat
- Wall squat
- Isometric squat
- Bulgarian squat
- Side lunge squat
- Bosu / Swiss ball squat
- Partial squat
- TRX squat
- TRX single legged squat
- Plyometric jump squat
- Plyometric box jump squat
- Over head squats
- Kettle bell squats
- Medicine ball squats with rotation
- The list goes on…
Whether you are male or female, fit or unfit, training sport specifically or personal goal driven, experienced or non-experienced, targeting muscle build or weight loss; whatever your current position and desired end result, SQUATS are the exercise to get you there!
You could even be squatting while reading this…
Safiyah Esack – 06/05/2013