Squats – Everything you should know
Why should you do squats? It’s a popular question that people ask when they start getting into fitness. We’ve all heard that squats are great for you. But why do them?
Squats are one of the best exercises if you’re trying to build muscle, lose fat or just want to get in shape. Squats work almost every single muscle in your body. If you’re looking to build muscle, your legs and back can pack on a good chunk of muscle from squatting. And if you’re looking to burn fat, you want to do exercises that trigger as much of your body as possible and squats do that. Just a reminder that by squats I mean barbell squats which you should do with a free bar. Smith machine squats doesn’t count as Squats and I recommend you to stay far away from the smith machine as possible.
What makes squats such a great exercise?
1. Builds muscle and keeps you healthy
Squats primarily helps build your leg muscles including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Besides, they also create an anabolic environment which promotes muscle growth in your entire body because you’re using almost every muscle in your body to squat the weight. This increase in muscle mass will help improve your upper and lower body strength. Moreover, squats build your muscles and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and metabolism helping you protect against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
2. Burn Fat
One of the most efficient and effective ways to burn fat is to gain muscle. For every kilo of additional muscle you gain, your body can burn an additional 100-150 calories a day. Squats work almost every muscle in your body and it’s a full body workout which will help you lose fat.
3. Maintain mobility, balance and prevent injuries
Most athletic injuries happen due to weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues. Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older. Squats increases leg strength and helps strengthen your ligaments and tendons. Additionally, they work your core and stabilizing muscles which will help you maintain balance and improve mobility. They help prevent injury by improving your flexibility by improving the range of motion in your ankles and hips.
4. Boost Sports performance
Mainstream sports such as football, basketball and rugby require athletes to display incredible jumping ability and power that manifests via thigh, hip and glute strength. Squats greatly contribute to each of these attributes and can improve performance on the playing field.
Myths about Squatting
1. Squats are bad for your knees
This is one of the biggest reasons people stay away from Squats. If you do them properly and hit proper depth, squats are the best exercise you could do for the reasons mentioned above. However, doing squats with bad form and performing half-reps and partial squats without hitting depth is bad for your knees and doesn’t give you any results.
2. Knees shouldn’t go past your toes
If you think about any functional scenario, the knees pass the toes all the time – when you go up and down a flight of stairs or when you sit in a chair. It’s natural for the knees to go a few inches past your toes. So as long as your form is correct, there is no harm in letting your knees go past your toes.
3. Your feet should be shoulder width apart
Everyone has different body and bone structures and because of that people will have different stances. For majority of the people it will be a stance that is shoulder width apart. But that doesn’t mean you have to use that stance. If you feel uncomfortable with it, just find a stance where you are comfortable and feel strongest when squatting.