Squats are one of the most powerful and important exercises that build muscle, stamina and balance. The squats are exercises that build muscles in your legs and lower back. We are, as a human beings, one of the few species on the planet that can walk upright just on two legs.
The benefits are: freeing hands for carrying food, tools, or babies. Helping early humans cover wide, open landscapes quickly and efficiently, and making it easier to pick fruits from low-lying branches.
The disadvantages are: back pain and other skeletal problems such as arthritis in hips and knees.
Proper squats will help you strength the legs and lower back, fight back pain, leg diseases and prevent injuries. Learn a proper squat technique, and live healthy, long and mobile life.
There are two different types of squats:
- Weight squats are used to build muscle and strength. You can squat using the weight of your body, dumbbells, barbells or fitness machines. The best results with this type of squats are reached, when the right range of repetitions and the right range of weight are used. The rule for building muscle and strength with weight squats is-repetitions are going down, weight is going up.
- Plyometric squats or also known as jump squats are design to improve the functions of muscles, tendons, and nerves. Plyometric squats build power, speed and strength, but they also need to be carefully used to reduce the likelihood of injury.
The squat is also called basic exercise. An exercise that is a must do every time you workout legs. I always start my leg workout with four sets of weight squats. Proper squat form was always the first thing for me. I believe that you should increase your weight only when you are sure that your squat form is proper. A good guidelines for finding out and maintaining proper squat form is the mirror. Always watch yourself in the mirror when exercising and especially squatting.
How to Squat Properly:
A proper squat starts with proper body posture. Look straight ahead with your face, not just your eyes, and make sure your chin points straight ahead too. Push your chest out and shoulders back, which in return will engage your abdominal muscles and lower back muscles. Place your feet shoulder-width apart. The feet should be turned slightly outward (7°-10°). The appropriate toe-out position is one that positions the kneecaps facing forward. During squats the knee should be in line directly above the foot (not moving to the outside or inside of the floor). Use the mirror for proper knee position!
Use a spotter every time you can. A spotter can help with proper form and safety. Watching yourself in the mirror will also help your squat form.
If you are using weight such as barbell, put your hands shoulder-width apart. The bar weight will pull straight down thanks to the gravity, so keep the bar in a line with your body and feet for better balance. You may need to lean slightly forward when your knees bend just to keep the bar in line with your feet. The squat depth should be just below parallel, so that your butt drops below your knees.
Breathing is very, very important. Breath in when going down, and breath out when going up to starting position. Improper breathing can lead to injuries, make you light headed, or nauseous, and in extreme cases, some people even black out.
Try to avoid the Smith Machine when squatting. Due to the locking mechanism of the machine proper squat form could be compromised, which can lead to serious injury. Free weights are considered safe, when proper form is followed. The weight should be dictated from you current fitness level. It’s better and safer to build your strength slowly and consistently.
Use the comment box bellow to give your opinion on the subject. Squat properly, stay safe and live healthy, happy and long life.
Very good read…I have been focusing on my form after starting to lift again and strained my hip flexors. I read the section where coming forward and the hips pushing back can take the legs out of it and strain the flexors. Do you think this was the cause? I went ass to grass and was playing with width and turnout, but I have a feeling that paragraph hit it on the nose. I’m not sure what I really need to strengthen if anything before starting to squat again. Let me know what you think and thanks in advance.
Sometimes we can pick up an injury even when following good form. Most important thing is to let the body heal and get back to working out. When you are ready to squat again, start easy with lighter weights and good 15 min. warm up prior to exercising.