Tue | Nov 30, 2021

Why squat is the king of all exercises

Published:Wednesday | June 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Squats build muscles and muscles help in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Arguably, the best and most effective exercises you can do are squats. Although it is mainly seen as a leg exercise, when done properly, squats actually work the entire body, improving overall body performance, strength and muscle mass.

Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it's an excellent multipurpose workout to tone the entire body. Squats build muscles and muscles help in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Performing squats regularly increases metabolism, builds and strengthens muscles, works your overall body, strengthens core, improves balance, gives you great legs, butts and glutes, helps to reduce cellulites, strengthens the heart and improves circulation, as well as strengthens the back and spinal muscle.

Squats are also one of the best functional exercises you can do, because it promotes mobility, flexibility and balance and helps you to better carry out everyday activities.

Not to mention the great fat-burning benefits this exercise offers, as squatting burns more calories and increases muscle mass, and the more muscles you have the higher your metabolic rate.

In fact, if you are looking for a powerful way to boost your overall fitness and get great results fast, squatting is the exercise you need to be doing. And you will get even greater results if you add some weights and slow it down at intervals.

Despite the concern that squatting damages the knees, the fact is when done properly, squats can improve knee stability and strengthen and tighten the connective tissue around your knees.

One of the great things about squatting is how effective it is, yet it so simple to perform - it can be done anywhere and anytime and requires no equipment, and it only takes a few minutes per day.

So, if you want serious results and fast, adding squats to your fitness routine is a must. No question about it.

BENEFITS OF SQUATS

Here are some of the benefits of squats:

Improves your running, sprinting, jumping, endurance, balance, flexibility, mobility and posture

Gives you a full-body workout, building muscles in your entire body, which is a great way to strengthen your body. Squats create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building

Builds great hamstring muscles, as well as quadriceps and calves

Builds great legs, butt and glutes, making them tight, firm, toned, strong and muscular

Triggers the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are critical for muscle growth and to improve muscle mass

Improves fitness and increases your energy level

Helps to reduce cellulites

Improves your balance, by working and strengthening your core. A strong core in proper form provides overall balance for your body. Try resting a barbell on your shoulders for a front squat if you want to give your abs more of a workout.

Burns more fat and calories by building more muscles. For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.

A great functional exercise. Improving your flexibility, building muscles, strengthening your body and improving your balance helps your body to perform efficiently in everyday tasks.

Strengthens heart muscle, improves circulation and blood flow, and generates a more efficient oxygen flow throughout your body

Beneficial to every sport. Squatting helps to improve the power, flexibility and range of motion needed to play your favourite sport.

THE PROPER WAY TO PERFORM SQUATS

It is very important that you perform squats with the proper technique and form. Without a proper form, you will put your lower back at risk, and you definitely don't want that. Remember, the idea is to improve your body performance, not to cause injury.

Always start light and don't go too deep in the beginning. Then once you start getting into it, go as deep as you can.

Just to be sure you have the proper form and technique, you can view some of the videos on the Internet that give a demonstration.

Follow these guidelines for proper, effective squats:

Warm up.

Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart.

Keep your back in a neutral position, and keep your knees centred over your feet.

Pull in your abs.

Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90 angle.

Return to starting position.

Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position.

Repeat 15-20 times, for 2-3 sets for beginners (do this two or three times a week).

Stretch after each session

Optional: you can add 10- to 20-pound weights when you get more seasoned and your body gets stronger. This will give you even greater results.

Use a mop stick across the shoulder while squatting to help maintain proper form.

Mix it up with lunges and plié.

When you have mastered squats and start feeling the strength, start adding some double and triple pulsing/tapping at intervals during each routine.

Do intervals of superslow squatting for even greater results. Try aiming for 10 counts up and 10 counts down.

At intervals, squat and hold for 10 seconds, then slowly return to starting position.

yourhealth@gleanerjm.com