Squats are rightly called 'the king of lower body workouts'. Squats are one of the best exercises you can do for your entire system. It is a multi-joint compound exercise (any exercise that involves more than one joint and muscle group at once) which targets all the major muscles of the lower body – the hips, glutes, and thighs.
The beginner squat exercise is fairly easy to do. This is appropriate for people with knee problems and overweight people who might need a little more support. This exercise can be done using only your body weight.
How to do Squats?
- Stand straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. It is imperative to keep a neutral spine throughout the exercise.
- Your arms should be parallel with the ground. Palms need to be facing down. (Note – A comfortable alternative move is to pull elbows close to your sides with palms facing each other.)
- Inhale, unlock the hips. Bring the hips back slightly. Start going down on your knees, while sending your hips backwards.
- While the butt starts sticking out, chest and shoulders need to be upright.
- Keep your back as straight as possible.
- Keep looking ahead, with head facing forwards for a neutral spine.
- Hold position for 5 seconds. Longer, if possible.
- Stand back up slowly.
A Few Tips to Remember While Doing Squats :
- Go all the way down until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Anything lesser than that is a fake squat. Go as south as possible, and you will feel it in every muscle in your leg. This gives you a strong core, strong legs and a strong back.
- Do not extend your knees past your toes.
- Do not arch your back. The only way to ensure this is to keep your head up and keep your abs tight.
- Point your toes slightly outward.
Squats will help to strengthen your entire body, your bones, muscles, and your knees, and increase flexibility. Because the exercise utilizes a large amount of muscle groups, it forces your body to increase the anabolic hormone production, helping you to lose fat and gain muscle.
How Squats Can Be Beneficial In Building Muscles :
Squats obviously help in building your leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings and calves included). When done right, they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which is vital for muscle growth and improves muscle mass everywhere else. Hence, it is a splendid upper AND lower body exercise.
Benefits of Squats in Regulating Your Digestion:
Squats are very beneficial in removing waste, as the muscular action improves the flow of fluids and facilitates the passing of waste through your bowels.
Squats Provide Better Circulation:
Muscle stretching from the movement gets the blood pumping through the entire body, hence improving your overall health. Regular squats also reduces the appearance of cellulite.
Benefits of Squats in Burning More Fat
Gaining muscle is conducive to burning more calories. Every pound of additional muscle drains of the body of an additional 50-70 calories per day. No other exercises works more muscles than the squats. If you had to pick only one exercise for the rest of your life which would benefit you in all areas of your body, pick the squat.
Squats are Beneficial in Toning the Legs
Squats thoroughly engage the quadriceps, hamstrings, butt, stomach, abdomen muscles, and calf muscles, which help to tone and strengthen the legs. Not just that, you boost flexibility as well. Deep squatting increases range of motion in the entire hip complex (ankles, knees, hips & the lower back) which leads to reduced back pain.
Benefits of Squats in Enhancing Core Strength
Your core has to work double-time (utilizing the muscles in both your abdomen and lower back) to prevent injury and to maintain an upright posture while doing squats. They also help you maintain your balance. Strengthening your lower body helps to fortify the system of nerves that control movement in that area, allowing you to keep the natural sense of equilibrium which complements the fluid movement.
Benefits of Squats for Pregnant Women:
For expectant women, squatting is beneficial in relieving pressure from the uterus. Regular squatting is advisable for a natural delivery, as they remove stress from your abdomen, pelvic muscles, and knees.
In conclusion, squats are the one exercise that has a holistic, complete effect on the body. A research done in 1989 by Auburn University proves that regular squatting improved knee stability and strengthened connective tissue. There is less stress on your knees with squats than leg extensions.
Hence, a simple exercise which maintains mobility, increases functional strength, increases your vertical jump, which is beneficial in stimulating the increase of growth hormones and testosterones, and which also tones your entire lower body & increases upper body strength, deserves a chance.
Do 10 squats in 2-3 sets, 3 days out of a week, and watch as the pounds fly off and you get visibly stronger and leaner.