Why everyone should learn to back squat
I’ve been asked time and time again by people what the most complete exercise it is when weight training and although the dead-lift, chin and press are all fantastic exercises, for me it has to be the back squat.
It uses more of the bodies musculature than any other exercise so you will get fitter, leaner, stronger and, depending on gender, bigger, doing this one movement over any other.
Although predominately quad based, it’s really a full body exercise. Your shoulders, back and core are vital in performing it safely and effectively and with full range of movement, your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves are all brought into play massively. It’s an exercise that should be part of everyone fitness regime, regardless of gender. Ladies, how many times have you looked at a magazine and seen a pert bottom in a bikini and craved for it to be yours? Gents, how many times have you wished for bigger, stronger legs (skinny jeans wearers need not answer!)
You get an increased hormonal response when squatting, fantastic for gaining strength and size in both upper and lower body (more applicable to men in the growth part, see my other articles on the difference between women and men lifting). Since squats are loaded top to bottom, your core has to work overtime to keep stability and safeguard against injury. This type of movement, along with a clean diet is what gives you that flat, toned midsection, not endless, mind numbingly boring crunches!
When performing a back squat correctly, your flexibility will also improve. Deep squatting increases the range of motion in the entire hip complex, which helps in reducing lower back pain.
You also develop stronger muscles in and around the lower body joints. I’ve heard people time and time again say they don’t want to squat because they have dodgy knees. Well here’s the thing, you probably have them because you don’t! Not only does squatting boost the muscles in and around your hips, but it also strengthens the muscles around your knees which makes daily activities like running after your kids in the park or jumping about actually enjoyable (if you like that sort of thing!)
Rather than moving from machine to machine in the gym for hours on end doing lots of isolated exercises trying to get a great workout in, why not throw in a few heavy sets of squats. These will elevate your heart rate, have your legs burning in no time (lactic acid production) which stimulates fat loss and leave you time to go out and enjoy whatever is left of your day.
They’re not easy, they hurt, you get fatigued, but then nothing in life worth accomplishing is easy, so stop making excuses, start squatting and reap all the benefits they have to offer !!!!!!