The Squat is the mother of all exercises. If you can get this one down then you will have a massive advantage in the gym! It is not only one of the best exercises but also one of the most difficult. But here is a list of why you need to be squatting and some key form tips to keep you healthy.
7 Important Reasons You Need To Be Doing Squats
Strength is the ability to move heavy objects. The amount you can squat is directly related to your overall strength. why? Because the squat is a heavy compound exercise that works almost every muscle in your body. If you want to be strong you can’t afford to be skipping on your squats. This functional increase in strength will translate noticeably into your everyday life and objects (and people) will seem so much lighter.
Squats work the whole lower body and some upper body muscles. They specifically target the quads and Glutes but many more muscles are brought in to balance the weight. Studies have shown that doing heavy, compound exercises such as squats have a positive effect on testosterone release which, helps you build more muscle.
Because of the amount it effort it takes to squat it is actually a really effective way of burning calories. Especially as the weight gets heavier. Doing squats will also increase your metabolism for hours post workout and keep you in the ‘fat burning zone’
Squats get your heart beating fast! This is great for cardiovascular health. building up how much you can squat over time strengthens your heart at the same rate. It needs to be able to pump the blood into your legs to be able to actually perform the movement
Because of the extra muscles in your legs from squatting; running will become much easier. You won’t be able to magically run a marathon in 3 hours but running a 5k will be easier and any running for sports will be easier. Squats wont make you slow or bulky. It’s like supercharging your engine.
The more force you can generate quickly the more explosive you will be. Football players are explosive. They need to be quick off the mark to get into the positions needed to score. You could even call explosiveness power. So if you want more power then do some squats.
Squats with proper form strengthen the muscles around your knees, ankles, hips, spine etc. It also strengthens the tendons and connective fibres. This supports the joints and helps to prevent injury and discomfort. The key is proper form. Without good form you will damage your joints instead of strengthening them.
Squat Form Guide To Prevent Injury
Having good squat form is the difference between becoming a superhero or destroying your joints. If you focus on getting your squat form right from the beginning it can seriously help you when the weights get heavier. I have listed the main squat form tips to help to prevent injury and get you squatting heavier below:
Keeping your back straight is one of the most important things to remember when squatting. It is important to keep the natural arch and not to round or create an excess arch in your back.
Feet shoulder width apart
You should be aiming to have you feet shoulder width apart and pointing slightly outwards. Keep your feet flat on the floor and don’t raise your heels or toes.
aim to push your knees out towards your little toes. This will prevent your knees from buckling inwards and ruining the joints.
Keep your head up and looking forwards. This will also help you to keep your back neutral and your chest high.
The bar should move in a vertical path. Straight down, straight up. Over the middle of your foot.
Having a full range of motion is as important as having proper form. without squatting all the way down to at least parallel you won’t get the full benefit of the squat and it can actually have a negative effect on your joints and back.
Control the weight
Maintaining control during the movement will keep your form correct. Squatting down fast will help you to give more power for the way back up BUT this can come at the loss of form and the loss of form is not worth the small amount of extra power.
Don’t extend knees past toes
When squatting it is important to move your hips with your knees and to not let your knees hang over your toes. Push your hips back as you squat down to prevent this. A good trick is to sit onto a chair and try to stand back up without leaning your body forward to get momentum. If you can then that is the proper form.
Don’t let your knees buckle
Keeping your feet pointed slightly outwards and forcing your knees towards your little toes will prevent this. It is still important to keep it in the back of your mind to remember to not let your knees buckle or sway.
Next time you are in the gym doing squats remember to follow the above squat tips and tricks so you can be lifting real weight faster!