Why Squat Exercise?: If you want to keep a good mobility and balance in old age, you must include squats in your workout routine. Many elderly and those with knee problems tend to avoid squats, thinking they would damage knees. There’s really no need to abstain away from them. Instead, just make sure you’re doing them properly, and avoid using weights.
Even though the squat is really a full body movement that works just every muscle group in the body, but primarily it’s a lower body exercise.
Which Muscle Groups Squats Work Out?
Mainly, it works out the following muscles; quadriceps, gluteus maximus, hamstrings, hip adductors, hip abductors, gastrocnemius (calf), soleus, tibias anterior, rectus abdominals and erector spine.
Whether your aim is to gain strength or lose weight, squats are one of the fastest ways to get there.
BENEFITS OF THE SQUAT EXERCISE
Squats are an excellent exercise for training the lower body and core muscles. If done regularly and properly they help to strengthen thighs and buttocks. Let us learn what squats can do for us:
(i) Build And Strengthen Muscles Throughout Your Body: When done correctly, they can effectively set off release of testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) in your body, which help over all muscle development.
(ii) Enhance Fat Burning: Muscles consume higher calories even when they’re not being worked, and your leg muscles are some of the “largest” muscles in your body.
For every 10 pounds of muscle you gain, you burn about 500 to 700 more calories per day than before.
(iii) Improve Balance And Mobility: They increase leg and bone strength, thereby your core get stabilized. They contribute to improve your overall balance and thus can help prevent falls.
So, squats become increasingly beneficial and important with advancing age. Read here for knee strengthening in old age.
(iv) Prevent Injuries: If you have weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues, you are more prone to injuries in general, but especially athletic injuries. By including squats in your work out regime, you can strengthen all of these and reduce possibilities of injury by improving your range of motion and flexibility.
(v) Enhance Athletic Performance: Studies have found that squats help athletes run faster and jump higher. This is why squats are a part of almost every professional athlete’s fitness regime.
(vi) Strengthen Your Buttocks And Tone Up Abdominals: Besides engaging your leg muscles, squats also help tone and tighten your buttocks and abs. Squatting also helps build muscles that play important role in the regulation of glucose, lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. So, they consequently control chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. Read here for 45 Minutes Best Workout Program.
How To Do Body Squats Correctly : Steps-By-Steps?
Body squats are highly versatile. You can do them anywhere as you are only using your own body weight. Here is step-by-step guide on how exactly to do a perfect squat?
- Stand tall with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out.
2. Position your feet slightly wider than your hips. Some trainers stand with their feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Both positions are ok. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward – about 5 to 20 degrees outward.
3. Extend your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground, to help keep your balance. If you like, you may bend the elbows or clasp the fingers.
4. Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you. You’ll want to look at this spot the entire time you squat, not looking down at the floor or up at the ceiling.
5. Sit back and down like you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. While lowering your body, push your hips back, bend your knees and push your body weight into your heels.
Note: Experts recommend that your weight should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if you were pasted to the ground.
6. Keep your head facing forward as your upper body bends forward a bit. Rather than allowing your back to round, let your lower back arch slightly as you descend.
7. Lower down so your thighs are as parallel to the floor as possible. Keep a neutral spine at all times. This means don’t round your back, but also don’t hyper extend and over accentuate the natural arch of your back. Never let your knees go over your toes. Your chest should be lifted at all times not rounded.
8. Pause then lift back up in a controlled movement. While doing so, keep your body tight, and push through your heels to bring yourself back to the starting position.
Squat Exercise Tips
(i) While you squat, keep your entire body tight all the time.
(ii) While lowering your body, keep pushing your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend. It’s important that you start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.
(iii) Keep your back straight, with your neutral spine, and your chest and shoulders up. Keep looking straight ahead at an imaginary spot in front of you.
(iv) As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet. Watch you knees! When they start to come inside the toes, push them out (but not wider than your feet).
(v) Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Anything less than parallel is a partial squat.
(vi) Squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re recruiting your glutes. Make sure to keep your body and core tight all the time.
Start with 3 sets of 10 squats. As you get used to the movement then add more reps (12, 15). I started a year back. Now, I do 3 sets of 40 reps each twice a week. Initially, you should focus on your form, and later think about adding reps.
Note: Due to the fact that our bodies are different and also majority of the population has some sort of mobility issue, none of the “perfect” squats will look exactly the same. So, if your squat looks different than the person next to you that does not mean you’re doing it wrong!
In this article we have covered what is a squat exercise, which muscles it work out, its benefits and how to do body squat properly to maximize health benefits? In our next articles we will cover various variations of squat work out.