Let us take a look at proper squatting as a form of exercise, how to squat properly, which muscles they work and it’s benefits to your body.
First, let’s understand the meaning of squatting as a form of exercise, and that brings us the the question below:
What is Squatting?
According to Wikipedia, A squat is a strength exercise in which the trainee lowers their hips from a standing position and then stands back up. During the descent of a squat, the hip and knee joints flex while the ankle joint dorsiflexes; conversely the hip and knee joints extend and the ankle joint plantarflexes when standing up.
Research has shown that squatting improperly can be painful and could result in injury. Therefore it is very necessary that you learn about proper squat form, how to squat safely and effectively, and the benefits of squats.
Here is a summary of how to squat properly:
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your
Movement: Slowly bend your hips and knees, lowering your buttocks about eight inches, as if you’re sitting back into a chair. Let your arms swing forward to help you balance.
Keep your back straight. Slowly return to the starting position.
Repeat 8-12 times.
Tips and Techniques in Squatting:
- Shift your weight into your heels.
- Squeeze your buttocks as you stand to help you balance.
Make it easier: Sit on the edge of a chair with your feet hip-width apart and arms crossed over your chest. Tighten your abdominal muscles and stand up. Slowly sit down with control.
Make it harder: Lower farther, but not past your thighs being parallel to the floor.
How to Squat Properly
Execute the move as if you were going to sit in a chair placed behind you. This will ensure that you are driving your hips back.
1. Go as deep as you can comfortably. If you have knee issues, don’t go deeper than a 90-degree angle, with your thighs parallel to the floor.
2. Keep your heels “glued” to the floor as you squat, and think about driving them into the ground as you straighten your legs to return to the starting position. (This will put even more emphasis on your glutes).
3. Keep your knees in line with your toes. Also, don’t let your knees cave in. Press them outward so they stay aligned with your feet as you squat down.
4. Do allow your torso to tilt naturally as you squat. (Just don’t collapse your chest or round your shoulders forward.) If you’re too erect, your hips cannot release properly and you’ll put too much strain on your knees.
Proper Squat Form
Step 1: Stand with feet a little wider than hip width, toes facing front.
Step 2: Drive your hips back, bending at the knees and ankles and pressing your knees slightly open as you…
Step 3: Sit into a squat position while still keeping your heels and toes on the ground, chest up and shoulders back.
Step 4: Strive to eventually reach parallel, meaning knees are bent to a 90-degree angle.
Step 5: Press into your heels and straighten legs to return to a standing upright position.
Benefits of Squatting
1. They will Prime You to Lift Heavy Things Safely
Squats will not only prepare you to leap tall buildings as the wonder woman that you are, but they will give you the strength to pick up heavy objects correctly by using your lower body instead of your back.
2. They are Totally Time Efficient
One of the prime benefits of squats is that they’ll tone your booty quicker than just about any other move on the planet. By recruiting pretty much all the muscles in your lower body (quadripceps, hamstrings, gluteals), when you learn how to do a proper squat you’ll find yourself toning up faster and more effectively!
3. They Can Prevent Injuries
Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. Many people shy away from doing squats if they have knee issues, but studies have shown that the muscles recruited and built when a person does a proper squat will actually improve knee stability and strengthen the connective tissues surrounding the knee.
4. They Are Functional Fitness
Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform everyday activities more easily, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment. Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there for promoting mobility, flexibility and balance with real-world benefits.
Muscles Worked by Squatting
Squats are more than just a leg exercise. Your legs do most of the work to Squat the weight. But your abs and lower back muscles must stabilize your torso while your upper-body balances the bars. Squats work your whole body from head to toe.
This is why you can do Squats heavier than other exercises, and why they’re more effective for gaining overall strength and muscle. Squats work the following muscles:
- Thighs. Your legs bend when you Squat while your knees stay out. Everything straightens at the top. This works your knee and hip muscles: your quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors and glutes. The Squat is the best exercise to build strong, muscular legs and a firm butt.
- Calves. Your shins are incline at the bottom of your Squat. They end vertical at the top. This ankle movement works your main calf muscles: your gastrocnemius and soleus. But don’t expect miracles. Genetics play a large role when it comes to building bigger calves.
- Lower Back. Gravity pulls the bar down when you Squat. Your lower back must resist this downward force to keep your spine neutral and safe. This strengthens the muscles on the back of your spine which protects it against injury: your erector spinae.
- Abs. Your ab muscles help your lower back muscles to keep your spine neutral when you Squat. This strengthens your six-pack muscles that lie on your belly: your rectus abdominis and your obliques on the side. Stronger abs are more muscular. Eat right and they’ll show.
- Arms. Your arms assist your upper-back muscles to balance the bar on your back. Your hands squeeze the bar which increases tension in your forearms and upper-arms. Squats don’t work you arms like Chinups because your arms don’t bend. But you get isometric arm work.
Squats also work the muscle that pumps blood to your legs: your heart. And it strengthens the muscle between your ears: your mind. Many people hate Squats because they’re so hard. But that’s also why they’re so effective for gaining strength and muscle.
The people who have the courage to Squat every week, build discipline that becomes useful in other parts of their lives (like sticking to healthy nutrition and sleeping habits).
If you only have time to do one exercise, then Squat. Squats work more muscles, with more weight, over a greater range of motion, than any other exercise. The weight is heavier than on a leg curl or leg extension.
You must balance the weight and yourself unlike on the Leg Press where you’re sitting on a machine. The bar moves twice the distance than on Deadlifts.