We’ve all heard about the importance of doing squats and yet so many people neglect this crucial aspect of training so let’s get straight to the point: here are 5 reasons why you should include the king of lower body exercises into your workouts.
- Full squats will strengthen your knees and back: Contrary to what you may have heard, squats, when performed correctly, will improve knee stability, strengthen bones, ligaments and tendons and reduce the risk of injury to the lower back. Of course there are many different ways to squat (based on morphology) and there are many variations of squats (front squat, back squat, split squat, pistol squats, etc). Each variation offers benefits and drawbacks as there are no absolutes in training. That being said, regardless of your training approach, everyone should be able to go into a full deep squat.
- Squats can improve body composition: Since the squat works so many major muscle groups with such immense intensity (quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, abdominals and erector spinae), it is one of, if not THE best exercise for burning fat. In addition to this, squats help increase overall testosterone levels as well as overall GH production, making it an effective mass building exercise.
- Squats will allow you to run faster: running speed is correlated with ability to apply force into the ground. The whole premise of the squat is that you are essentially applying force into the ground, (likely with added resistance) making it one of the most important exercises for anyone who wants to increase their running speed.
- Squats will make you jump higher: a recent study performed on recreational athletes for 10 weeks indicated that full squats (hamstrings covering the calves) increased the vertical jump by an average of 8%.
- Squat for better flexibility: Studies have shown that performing deep squats can increase functional mobility, thereby decreasing the chance of injury. The human body is meant to go through the entire range of motion of the squat. TIP: If this is difficult for you, address the problem by stretching often and starting off with unilateral squat variations such as the split squat, gradually increasing the ROM.
While this list is not complete by any means, it gives you an idea of the importance of the squat. Learning how to perform squats correctly will create a solid foundation and help you to attain an overall stronger and healthier physique. Keep an eye out as we will be posting a video demonstrating proper squatting form as well as different squat variations.
Hartmann, Hagen, Klaus Wirth, Markus Klusemann, Josip Dalic, Claus Matuschek, and Dietmar Schmidtbleicher. “Influence of Squatting Depth on Jumping Performance.”Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (2012): 1. Print.
Hartmann, H., et al. Analysis of the Load on the Knee Joint and Vertebral Column with Changes in Squatting Depth and weight Load. Sports Medicine. 2013. Published Ahead of Print.
Matuschek, C., Schmidtbleicher, D. Influence of Squatting Depth on Jumping Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
Okada, T., Huxel. K., Nesser, T. Relationship Between Core Stability, Functional Movement, and Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. January 2011. 25(1), 252-261.
Jones, M., Ambegoankar, J., et al. Effects of Unilateral and Bilateral Lower-Body Heavy ResistanceExercise on Muscle Activity and Testosterone Response. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
McCaulley, G., McBride, J., Cormie, P., Hudson, M., Nuzzo, J., Quidry, J., Triplett, N. Acute Hormonal and Neuromuscular Responses to Hypertrophy, Strength and Power Type Resistance Exercise. European Journal of Applied Physiology. 2009. 105(5), 695-704.