Could squatting get you reaching your fitness goals faster than can say 'human squat-ta-pede'?
Let's dedicate some time to the most classic and unconventional derivatives of squats that are out there! As demonstrated below, squats are the granddaddy of all exercises. Hail 'squatters'!
Exercise trainers often consider squats to be the definitive exercise. Somewhat of a bold statement? We think not. Simple to perform? Yes! (& no!) Plus they can be done with no equipment - you can squat wherever you like! Don’t take us out of context there or send us any crazy pics - perhaps we should put up disclaimers?
Joking aside, it's amazing that most people think squatting is purely a legs and bums exercise. There's so many more benefits than that...little do they know that 'the squat' / 'art of squatting' is a full body workout!
Squatting is a ‘compound’ exercise that obviously focuses on the big lower body muscle groups
Let's list those muscle groups often used include: The quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, buttocks, hips and thighs..which together is more muscle grouping than you can lunge a barbel at. If done correctly squatting also helps strengthen the erector spinae muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons that help keep everything taught and together.
Variations of the traditional squat:
Normal squats not your bag? Ramp it up with a little variation as this Xercse4Less PT demonstrates below.
Can you name the squats in the video above?
(Answers are upside down at the end of this page)
Squat-shing common myths:
Let's dispel some of those myths that get flung about by people who don't know a shrivelled grape about exercise...
Does squatting damage your knee joints?
Not if done correctly! In fact, squatting can help you build up the connective tissue on those all-important knee joints… so squat – and do it right!
Remember, during your squat reps, try to:
- Keep your knees in line with your toes! Whether you’re duck footed or knock knee’ed – there’s one rule of thumb: listen to your body – align your joints in their natural manner and if you feel any twinges or feel like you’re overstraining anything but your muscles – change exercises or rest immediately.
- Maintain a head posture that is inline with your shoulders with your eyes focussing on an imaginary point straight ahead of you (focus is perpendicular)
- Keep Hips straight - Tuck your bum in to maintain a straight lower back.
- Make sure your feet flat to the floor at all times to support your full body weight. (Rocking on to your toes or heels during squatting may only add different constraints and pressure on isolated regions of the body – try to maintain a solid foundation in order to perfect the technique, strenghten your stabilisers and prevent future injury.)
- If you are extremely tall and long legged then adjust and widen your stance accordingly
- Always listen to your body
To squat or not to squat, that is the question!
If you have had any injury that has caused a severe imbalance of strength in the lower half or misalignment of bones such as the hips then consider other forms of exercise recommended by your physiotherapist. If you’re lower half is unstable then you will only end up putting stress on the weaker sides of your body which may cause posture issues through over compensation.
Excessive squatting can cause over stretching of the ligaments if you take it to the extreme. Calm down on the amount of reps or weights used – take a look at these workout plans:
Squats session plans:
- [Barbell Squats 15-20kg] 6 x sets of 12 reps
- [Barbell Squats] 3 x sets of 24 reps
- [Body Weight Squats] 4 x sets of 36 (Keep it lightweight for more burn and intensity - always remember to rest between each set and gently stretch or change exercises.
Beginner advice: Master the technique, begin light with the Olympic bar only (which weighs 20kg) - for advanced barbell or overhead press squat exercises work up to having 10-20kg on either side, change exercises for a couple of minutes between each set. Build up the weight over the weeks recursively.
Don't forget to track us on social media #squats4summer
Squat Video Answers:
ʇɐnbs ʇɥbıǝʍ ʎpoq :1# ʇɐnbs
ʇɐnbs ʇıןds uɐıɹɐbןnq :2# ʇɐnbs
ʇɐnbs bǝן ǝuo xɹʇ :3# ʇɐnbs
ʇɐnbs ןןǝqɹɐq :4# ʇɐnbs
ʇɐnbs dɯnظ ʎɹɐuoıʇɐʇs :5# ʇɐnbs
ʇɐnbs ssǝɹd pɐǝɥɹǝʌo :9# ʇɐnbs
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