If you’re not squatting, either your bodyweight or free weights, you should be! It doesn’t matter whether you’re a man or woman, elderly or young, squats are one of the single most effective workouts for activating the major muscle groups, developing core strength, burning calories, building bone density, and promoting flexibility. If you’re new to squatting, then start out by squatting your bodyweight for a couple of weeks, doing 3 sets of 20 squats everyday. Then, depending on your health and fitness level, try squatting with a large staff or an olympic bar without any extra weights on loaded. If you’re a more advanced weekend warrior or athlete and squats aren’t in your current workout repertoire, then it’s time to add them! There’s no faster or more effective way to improve your athleticism and strength.
Squats activate the body’s central nervous system and promote a muscle building, restorative state. Squats build the muscles of the buttocks, hips, thighs, trunk, lower back, shoulders, and arms. They also help strengthen ligaments and tendons in the legs. People often worry about injuring their knees by performing squats, but when performed correctly, squats will actually strengthen the knees and protect them from future injuries.
Free Weight Squat Technique:
- Be sure to use a squat rack that will catch your weights in the event that they are too heavy to lift back up
- Load the olympic weight bar low on your upper back, with your hands gripping the bar about shoulder width apart
- With the proper technique there’s no need to use a bar pad
- The bar will rest somewhere just above your shoulder blades
- Squeeze your shoulder blades together and be sure that the bar is centered and balanced.
- After un-racking the weight, take a couple step BACKWARDS (dont’ load the weight so that you are walking forward)
- You’re back will be straight but leaning slightly forward as you squat
- Go down until your hip joints are just below your knees, then rapidly stand up
- Look forward
- Don’t lock your knees
For a great explanation of how to squat, watch the video below by StrongLifts:
Originally posted 2013-06-08 00:42:44.