How to Perform the Perfect Squat
Do you have squats in your regular exercise program? If not, you should. Squats not only strengthen your legs and hamstrings, but they tone up your butt and strengthen the entire body. When done properly they are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Squats are known as functional exercises. Functional exercises are used in everyday life. This means as you do them, they become easier and can help you from injury as you age.
You already preform squats during a normal day, much more than you think. Every time you go to the bathroom, get up and down from a chair, or pick something up off the floor you are doing a squat. If you add five to 10 squats each day to your exercise program, you will see a marked difference in your strength and stamina. Plus, your hind end will start to look firmer and lifted – how’s that for a benefit?
Benefits of Squats
Squats promote balance and mobility and help you complete your daily activities.Squats offer many benefits and should be a part of your everyday exercise program. Not only do they strengthen your legs, but they build muscle thorough your entire body by catalyzing an anabolic environment. Here are some more important benefits of doing squats:
- Squats are one of the most efficient ways to burn more fat and calories while developing muscle. When done properly squats trigger the release of the human growth hormone and testosterone which are needed for muscle growth and improve strength. According to Dr. Mercola, New York Times Best Selling Author and fitness expert, for every pound of muscle you gain, you burn an extra 50 to 70 calories per day. If you gain only 10 pound of muscle this translates into you burning 500 to 700 more calories per day.
- Since squats are a functional exercise, they help you perform everyday tasks with ease. Instead of just being able to operate gym equipment more efficiently, squats help strengthen your upper and lower body making everyday tasks easier.
- Although there is a long-held belief squats damage your knees, recent research shows when done correctly they can help improve the strength and stability of the connective tissue in your knees.
- Squats strengthen your ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues. This helps improve your flexibility and balance which helps to prevent injury and increase your range of motion.
- Squats work several muscles and they are a good activity for tightening and toning your abs, behind, and legs. They also build your muscles which participate in the regulation of lipid metabolism, glucose, and insulin sensitivity. This helps to protect you from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
As you can see, squats offer you many important benefits. But before you can reap these benefits you need to know how to perform them properly.
How to Perform Squats Correctly
Squats target several muscles. These include the quadriceps (the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius) on the top of your thighs, the glutes (the gluteus maximus, medius and minimus), the adductors (magnus, longus, brevis, and gracilis), the calves, the hamstrings, hip flexors, and the rectus abdominis and obliques. To get the most from squats and prevent injury, it is important that use the correct form when exercising.
- Warm up
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Keep your knees centered over your feet and your back in a neutral position. Your toes should be pointed forward and your stomach sucked in to activate your core.
- Breathe in and slowly lower yourself down by bending your knees, hips, and ankles until you are at a 90-degree angle to the floor.
- Breathe out and slowly push up with your legs and return to a standing position.
- Repeat 15 to 20 times for two to three sets for beginners two or three times a week.
Remember to inhale on your way down and to exhale on your way back up. You may use the “smell the roses, blow out the candles” method of breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose and then exhale through pursed lips. This is a very effective way to provide oxygen to your body.
Keep your toes pointed forward. Don’t let them drift to the sides. This gives you a very stable base and keeps your legs and back in proper alignment. Engage your abs and don’t use your hands to help you go up or down. Keep your back straight and don’t let your chest drop to your knees or thighs.
Exercise does more than strengthen your muscles. It plays a part in disease reduction, optimal emotional, mental, and physical health, and longevity. Researches report exercise may reduce the risk of approximately two dozen health conditions. These include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia, depression, and stroke. It also helps to slow down aging by stimulating the regeneration of the energy producing mitochondria present in every cell of your body. Talk about a real life fountain of youth!
When added to your exercise program and a healthy diet and lifestyle, squats offer many health benefits. Squats give you fast results. You will see and feel firmer legs, abs, and buttocks by just adding a few reps of squats to your workout two to three days a week. In comparison to other exercises, squats are easy to do and offer a lot of benefits and real workout results.In order to get the most benefits from exercise maintain a well balanced fitness program which include strength training, stretching, aerobics, and high-intensity interval training. If you are a beginner limit your squats to two or three times a week so your body can take advantage of recovery time and build muscle. Listen to your body, and use squats to strengthen not only your legs and lift your butt, but strengthen your entire body.