The Power of the humble Squat. Essential for every routine

The Power of the humble Squat. Essential for every routine

Have you mastered the basic squat? It’s a simple exercise you can do anywhere and everywhere and one which anyone can benefit from. It’s an exercise which works out almost every muscle in your body and it is an exercise which can change your body completely. It will help you work out as much as your body as possible whilst strengthening your core and also helping the quick building of muscle.

If you’re committed to getting in shape, losing weight or simply toning up your body then you need to know how to perform the perfect squat.

Key Tips to Remember

The perfect squat will need to include the following elements and these are all tips you need to remember when carrying the move out:

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider apart than hip-width and point your toes directly ahead
  • Squat down until your tights are parallel to the floor at the very least – lower if possible. Any higher and you’ll be cheating your body and faking your squat.
  • Avoid extending your knees past your toes. You should sit back into the squat with your buttocks out and your back completely straight
  • Avoid arching your back which is best achieved by keeping your head up straight and holding your abs tight throughout the exercise

With these tips in mind you should be able to perfect your squat and begin carrying out this powerful and body-changing exercise.

Why the Squat?

We’ve been going on about squatting for a while now but we’ve yet to explain exactly why they’re so great. Here are seven key points which show exactly why squats need to be part of your routine.

Build Muscle

Not only will squatting help you build muscle it will help you build muscle in your entire body. Obviously your leg muscles, your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, will benefit but squats also create an anabolic environment which promotes muscle building throughout the body.

A perfect squat can create such a high level of intensity that your body will actually release both the human growth hormone and testosterone which are essential for muscle growth but also improve muscle mass across the body.

Reality Check

Another thing to keep in mind for the long run is how squats can benefit your overall health and therefore your life in general. Squatting is a functional exercise and therefore it helps your body perform activities in your day to day life. Squatting promotes mobility and balance so your body can move more nimbly in the real world as well as when you’re working out.

Fat Focus

If time is short then one of the most time-efficient ways of burning more calories is to gain more muscle. It may sound strange but statistics show that for every pound of extra muscle you gain, your body will burn up to an additional 70 calories a day. That means picking up 10lb of muscle means up to 700 more calories will be burned on a daily basis. Squats are proven to build muscle so work them into your fat reducing regime.

Maintain Body Balance

Squats are primarily designed to strengthen your leg muscles and it is clear strong legs are an essential part of what keeps up upright and mobile as we age. Squats also work on the core of your body, where the majority of the muscles responsible for stabilising the body as a whole are placed. Stabilising your core not only helps you to maintain balance but also improves and develops better communication between your brain signals and your muscle groups. This steels you against falls and simply gives you a stronger, more balanced body to carry you into your later years.

Tone Up

Squats are ideal for working a huge range of the body’s muscles. It’s a multipurpose activity and it can be used to tons up your abs, your glutes and clearly your legs from top to bottom. The rest of your body benefits too as we’ve said as it is primed to develop muscle too.

Avoid and Prevent Injuries

Many of the injuries suffered by athletes and regular gym users alike are down to weakened stabiliser muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. Squats will help strengthen all these elements and they also improve your body’s overall flexibility. A flexible body is less likely to be prone to injury and of course the previously mentioned improved balance also plays a role here.

Up your Game

Research has looked at how squatting strength relates to athletic ability. Research suggests that regular, perfectly performed squats can help athletes run faster, jumper higher and therefore if you look into the programme of any professional athlete there will be squats worked in there. It doesn’t matter if you’re an occasional tennis fan or a regular at the Sunday League team, squats will enhance your game.

There is no reason you can’t make squats work for you and there are very few environments where you can’t try some out!

 

Comments

Sarah L.
25 January 2014

Sarah L.

the article says 'keep knees above toes' but the picture doesn't quite agree! Are we supposed to keep feet flat on the floor too? (Although I have to admit I struggle sometimes not to fall over..)

Derek B.
23 January 2014

Derek B.

Good on you mate, shows you're doing them properly. But what's with the picture in the article? She's a pretty girl but that's a rubbish squat!

Neil H.
22 January 2014

Neil H.

Killer exercise.....my legs burn for days after a session involving squats!

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