Some time ago, I made a Pinterest board about the benefits of squats and variations of them. First I gotta say I thought Pinterest was just something my wife did during Elijah’s naptime and then tried the recipes on me when I got home (one time she made avocado brownies and they were delicious). But I see now that there’s a lot of cool stuff on there covering just about anything you would want to gather ideas about. This is the follow-up post about squats to provide more detail and information concerning this phenomenal exercise.
Even if today was your first-day stepping foot in a gym, you would see someone doing squats in some capacity. It’s a functional exercise that we use every day to pick up miscellaneous objects or things of the like. This exercise has numerous benefits when performed correctly. Habitual squatting will result in increase leg strength, allowing for faster and longer running, jumping and the like, increases in cardiovascular fitness which is beneficial for everything we do in life, increase muscle mass for a better look but also increased fat burning power, and a stronger core thereby increasing stability and reducing back pain. Proper and consistent squatting also increases testosterone in the body which causes more muscle growth throughout the body, not just in the legs.
Ladies do not be alarmed. Testosterone is present in you all as well, its levels are just so low that it does not exert the same physical traits in you all that it does in men. So squats will not cause you to look like a giant bodybuilder. Any woman you see that looks extremely buff has trained and dieted an insane amount for years to get that look, while possibly using steroids, so put the fear to bed. A regular squatting routine will result in firmer more defined glutes, leg muscles, calves, and also a smaller stomach due to the increased muscle mass which consumes excess body fat. How many women have said, “I just want to tone and shape my body?” How many of you wanted to change your shape or your waistline? Well, squats are an excellent way to do that. The only thing that burns fat is muscle, so you need “excess” muscle to burn excess fat. Squats and weight training in general help you get stronger, which improves your shape, and ultimately your body leans out to a more healthy shape. Who doesn’t want that?
Hopefully, the laundry list of benefits of squatting has convinced you to try squatting. If not, I strongly encourage you to try some variation of squatting. For those of you who have never squatted, guys and gals alike, try getting your form down at home first. If you have bad form without weights you will have much worse form with weights. Anyone can do squats (my son does them with me all the time), so don’t be shy and take some tips from this little guy.
Some people will tell you that you only have to go down to a 90-degree angle, but doing this in the long term can be detrimental. You should go all the way down as this fine specimen does above. Squatting only 90-degrees or parallel with your hips actually increases the amount of stress on your knee joint, causing more pain. Believe me, I’ve been doing 90-degree squats for awhile and they wreak havoc on the body. Full range of motion (ROM) is necessary on almost every exercises because it transfers over to functional movements we do throughout our lives. Going below a 90-degree angle relieves pressure from the knee and actually engages the glutes more so there is more stimulation for the muscle to grow. Just take a look at these Olympic weightlifters and their form. Despite the intensity of the sport, Olympic lifters actually have very healthy knees compared to other athletes. You can attribute part of this to the amount of attention they pay to proper form.
So go ahead and try the squat, you’ll be surprised how much better you feel after a few weeks of various squatting exercises.