THE FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCKS OF THE SQUAT
The squat.Where do you begin when there are thousands of theories out there explaining how to do them? A key¬†thing to remember is: the quality of the rep rather than the number of reps you perform and the weight you squat is paramount. This age-old movement has gained recent traction for being an effective way to grow the glutes¬†and you can undoubtedly count on this exercise to improve the size and shape of your posterior. But what else does it provide you?
- It builds your leg muscles; quads, hamstrings, calves, the whole deal. The range of movement in the squat also promotes muscle growth all over the body.
- Real-life activities become easier and run smoother. When you squat, you replicate movements you do everyday ‚Äì ranging from sitting in a chair, getting into your car and picking up an object.
- You burn more fat, and one of the best ways to burn fat is to gain muscle.
- It prevents injury. A lot of injuries involve smaller, weaker muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which are strengthened and activated by squatting.
- It improves your flexibility and balance. Squats improve the range of motion in your hips and ankles.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands out in front of you for stability.
- Break at the hips first, then knees as if you were going to sit in a chair.
- Go as low as you can without placing any pressure on your joints, but¬†instead focus on your muscle contractions.
- Ensure you are not leaning too far forward.
- Drive through your heels to come back up into a¬†standing position.
And what do you need to consider when you add weight?
- Hips - whenever¬†you squat, hinge your hips so your bottom¬†moves backwards during the downward phase. This ensures you don't put pressure on your knees but on your heels.
- Positioning your vision -¬†picking a spot on the wall and resisting from looking around or moving your head will protect the alignment of your spine and help you balance.
- Positioning your body - keep your chest out and up, and your shoulders back.
- Back arch - a slight arch in the back or neutral if you like, is the best position to avoid rounding your back or arching too much - which can cause serious injury to your spine.
- Positioning your knees and toes - slightly pointed out toes will assist in stabilising your body while keeping your knees out protects them.
- Breathing - inhale as you go down and exhale as you drive up. Refer to our THE IMPORTANCE OF BREATHING¬†article to find out more.
- Depth - try to aim for parallel to below parallel for the best results.