Episode 32 – DIY guide to squats

 

Have you ever sat down and then stood up from a chair? Well then, yes, you’ve performed a squat!

 

So why squat?

The squat builds strength, fitness, stability and power simultaneously in the body so you can fight chronic back pain and musculoskeletal weakness as well as improve posture and get lean – sounds good yeah!

Of course it does! It also targets the big muscle groups of the legs stimulating your metabolism into overdrive – great for weight loss, toning and shaping the body.

 

First off, how do you define squat?

Squat intransitive verb: 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. It’s a fundamental human movement pattern and incredibly functional – it works almost all the muscles in the body.

The squat targets the hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves and abdominals. These muscles are uber important for balance, core stability and total body strength.

 

There’s so many squats, which one(s) should I be doing?

There are so many variations of the squat. Each squat variation has purpose and depending on your #goals, you can do one, some or all! Let’s break down six squat variations you should try:

 

  • Back squat: barbell and weights on your back/shoulders

This is the standard of performance squats. It focuses on your posterior chain of muscles to promote strength; it’s also used by bodybuilders to increase muscle size or hypertrophy. Or in simple terms, this builds lots of muscle while focusing primarily on the muscles at the back of the lower body.

 

  • Sumo squat: feet wide, externally rotated, outside of hip width

This squat is aimed to increase balance and also allows the easier recruitment of your adductors (inner thighs), and glutes. Great for women who want to shape their inner and outer thighs.

Barbell back squat variations - wide squat, sumo squat, narrow squat

Barbell back squats - hand placement discussion

  • Jump squat: as above, with or without weights

The plyometric or explosive version of a weighted squat, this exercise utilises more calf strength and is directed at increasing power and agility. This dynamic movement is especially useful for movements requiring quick, lower body reflexes.

 

 

What other squats can you do? Read on to find out.

 

 
  • Front squat: weight held in front of your chest or front shoulder

This squat variation concentrates on equal weight distribution on your posterior chain along with recruiting upper body and core strength. An often difficult version of the squat, this is best left for more experienced individuals. Great for whole body workouts.

Barbell front squats - safety squats

Barbell front squats

  • Overhead squat: barbell positioned overhead with extended arms about shoulder width apart

This is an advanced squat. A great exercise for shoulder stability and upper body strength, core and overall balance.

 

  • Bulgarian split squat: one leg rested on a platform behind you with the body’s weight placed on front leg

This a great exercise for focusing on working each leg individually. It focuses on working the glutes while strengthening the core strength – this is a must do.

 

Start your squats!

So when someone asks you DO YOU EVEN SQUAT, not only can you now name an array of squats but you will know how to do them and why they are good for you! Give them all a try!

 

 

-Crossfit thank you for the photo

Bibliography

  • Chek, P. (2009) How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!
  • Chopra, D. (1995) Boundless Energy: The complete Mind/Body Program for Overcoming Chronic Fatigue. Three Rivers Press
  • Erhman, J. Gordon, P. Visich, P. Keteyian, S. (2003) Clinical Exercise Physiology. Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
  • Sherwood, L.(2004) Human Physiology: From Cells to Systems (5th Ed.) Thomson, Brooks/Cole

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness.

Chris Everingham lives and breathes health & fitness. International Athlete, Elite Performance Manager for the Philippine Volcanoes rugby teams, qualified Dietitian / Nutritionist and qualified educator. Chris Everingham combines more than 10 years of experience and education together to deliver the best strategies to grow your mindset, rewire your habits and transform your life.

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