Squats: the king of all exercises! Any fitness guru knows that if you want to get some serious results, then squats should be a staple in your workout regimen. Although squats are known as a leg exercise, they actually recruit more muscles than just your lower half, such as your core, shoulders and back.
What is a squat? According to Webster’s dictionary: “To assume or maintain a position in which the body is supported on the feet and the knees are bent so that the buttocks rest on or near the heels.” Hold up. Come again? “…buttocks rest on or near the heels.”? How often do you see this in the gym? I’m willing to bet not very often.
So how low should you squat? ‘Full range squats’ are when your hips go just below parallel with the floor or your hip crease past your waist. Some go even deeper, as defined in the Webster’s dictionary. This level of depth is the accurate way to perform a squat, which requires a great deal of mobility, stability, flexibility and coordination.
Don’t Miss: Target Your Legs and Glutes with This Workout!
Now that I’ve covered the meaning and depth of a full range squat, let’s talk benefits because most people fear squats. Why so? “Squats are bad for your knees and back.” This is a rumor spread by someone uneducated on the proper mechanics of a squat. Squatting with full range is a great way to help strengthen the bones, ligaments, and tendons throughout the lower half.
Because squatting conditions the leg muscles, it increases the shock absorbing ability and stability around the knee, minimizing impact on the knee joints. The same concept applies to your back. Strong hips and thighs help absorb impact, which protects the spine.
Having an overall balanced strength in your lower half will give you the power needed to push or propel your body upward or forward. Think about how many times you go from sit to stand position or even just bending down to pick something up. If your leg muscles are not well developed (primarily your glutes), you better believe your back is going to take the load.
Another reason squats can help alleviate back pain is it also targets your core. When core muscles are strong and working in unison they help stabilize the pelvis and spine, preventing your lower back from being overworked.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s talk about perks, as in perky glutes! It’s 2018 and the big butt trend has never been bigger. If you’re aiming to follow this trend, then look no further than deep full range squats, because that it where all the round and firmness happens. When performing a squat past parallel the glutes and hamstrings perform more work, meaning greater growth and perkiness for your back side.
So the next time you’re headed into the gym to do legs, try challenging yourself with going into greater depth. If you’ve never performed squats past parallel, focus on functional movement training first. This can mean starting with flexibility, working on full depth squat stretches and then performing squats with simply your own body weight or light weights. Injuries can happen as a result of improper form, so start out slow. Avoid stacking on the weighted plates until you feel capable and strong enough.
Your Workout Challenge for Today
•Single: Barbell deep squats
•Superset: Bulgarian split squats x dumbbell plié squats
•Superset: Plié squats x Jump squats
Do 4 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise
Bonus Burnout: 50 air squats (really focus on squeezing the glutes)