The squat is one of the vigorous strength training exercises that works out the upper and lower muscles in your body. Several of these muscles help you perform daily duties like walking, bending, climbing the stairs, carrying heavy loads, or running. They also help you do sports activities.
Squats and Your Muscles
The squat engages most of your muscles, particularly those found in the lower area of your body.
The lower muscles worked out in a squat are:
- groin (adductor)
- buttocks (gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius)
- hip flexors
- front thigh (quadriceps)
- back thigh (hamstrings)
You use your core muscles (rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae) to do the squats correctly.
The Rewards of Squat Exercises
Why do you need to incorporate squat exercises into your routine? Squat exercise, like the other strength training routines, help build your endurance and strength. Incorporating squat in your exercise routine can help you to perform daily chores efficiently, enhance your workout routine, and reduce the risk of injury. Listed below are the perks of a squat training exercise.
- Strengthens your lower body muscles
The lower body muscles help you perform several movements such as getting out of bed, sitting down and getting up on a chair, and nearly all other actions you do every day. Strong lower body muscles allow you to move more freely and with reduced pain. Exercising becomes easy too.
- Reinforces the core muscles
You use the core muscles in nearly all movements, such as standing, bending, and turning. Reinforcing your core muscles can help you maintain good posture, reduce lower back pain, and improve your balance.
A study in 2018 revealed that back squats activate the core muscles more than in a plank. The study recommends doing back squats to work out the core muscles to enhance sports performance and to lessen the risk of injury.
- Burn calories
Squat, like cycling and running, can help you burn calories. The Harvard Medical School study showed that a 155-pound person was able to burn almost 223 calories with a 30-minute squat training.
- Lessen the risk of injury
Strong lower muscles help improve your posture that is necessary for mobility and sustaining balance. It also reinforces your ligaments, tendons, and bones, reducing the risk of injury.
- Enhances athletic stamina and competence
A research study in 2016 found out that doing jump squats thrice a week for eight weeks boosts the performance of athletes involved in track and field, football, court sports, sprint, and even cycling.
Squat has several variations. Try other variations once you’ve mastered the basic squat. Variety makes physical fitness training exciting and fun. Try different squat variations to help activate the other muscle groups. Although squat requires only your body weight, challenge yourself to do squat with dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, yoga balls, medicine balls, or barbells.
- Air or Bodyweight Squat
Air or bodyweight squat is the basis of all squats. It uses only your body weight.
- Stand tall with feet slightly apart and chest up.
- Contract your abdominal muscles.
- Bend your knees and push hips down. Keep your thighs aligned to the floor.
- Stop when your knees are almost near your toes. Feel the squat in your glute and thigh muscles.
- Exhale and go back to the starting position.
- Split Squat
The split squat is easy that requires stability and balance.
- Stand straight, and then take a long step forward, similar to a lunge, with the heel of the back foot raised.
- Lower your body until your knee is almost near the floor. Ensure to keep your trunk straight.
- Pause for a few seconds, exhale, and then go back to the standing position.
- Do the same to the other leg after completing all reps on one leg. Ensure to keep your knees aligned with your toes.
- Goblet Squat
The goblet squat works up your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It is a fundamental strength and conditioning fitness workout for newbies. It integrates the basic squat moves and allows you to do more complicated variations or lifts.
- Barbell Front Squat
Compared to the back squat, the barbell front squat stimulates the front half of your body even more.
- Take a step back with feet shoulder-width apart. Toes should be apart and directed diagonally.
- Straighten your trunk, inhale, and then flex your legs.
- Lower your body to do a squat keeping the legs aligned on the floor. The knees should be at a distance, and the heels flat on the floor.
- Exhale then go back to the standing position.
- Pistol Squat
The pistol squat requires you to balance on one leg while in a crouch position. Leg strength is necessary to execute this type of squat. Stretch your arms and the other free leg to maintain balance. Use a bench to help you do the pistol if you are a newbie. Use weight as you advance in this variation and do it on an even surface.
Reminder: Visit your doctor if you have an injury or an existing medical condition.
Some squat exercises do not require any equipment and can be done at anyplace. You only need adequate space, and you can do squat easily. You can do squat exercises as long as you have enough space to lower your hips to a sitting position. If you have a limited time, do 25 squats in the morning and another 25 in the evening. Add another 25 in the afternoon once you’re stronger.
Squats offer you many advantages that are essential to keep fit. Try switching the basic squat with other variations to keep you motivated. It will make your fitness workout challenging and exciting. Squat your way for a healthier you and reap its rewards!