Squat version – health benefits and many variants at a glance!
Beautiful, slim legs and a tight buttocks – that is the dream of every single woman. And we all know the secret – sport, adequate exercise and a balanced, healthy diet. If you're looking for a great way to exercise at home and lose a few pounds at the same time, squats are the best choice. In addition to the plank exercise variants, squat is also one of the most effective exercises for a home workout and delivers amazing results in a very short time. It is not for nothing that they are called the mother of all exercises. But to benefit from the many advantages, a correct squat execution is an absolute must. How this works, as well as many great variations that provide more variety, we tell you in our article!
Contrary to what many people think, squats are not just for weightlifters or bodybuilders. Above all, the buttocks and legs are trained, but the lower back and abdominal muscles are also stressed. In addition, adding squats to your exercise routine can help reduce the risk of injury, improve your performance and coordination, and strengthen your bones.
Squat version – so do it right!
Although the squat version may seem fairly simple at first glance, there are many small mistakes that can lead to permanent injuries to the back and knees. Therefore, fitness beginners are especially recommended to learn the clean technique under the supervision of a trainer. And this is how it is done:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Tighten and pull in your abs.
- Now slowly lower your body as if you wanted to sit on a chair. Carry out the movement slowly.
- Slowly bend your knees until they are at a 90 degree angle, being careful to distribute your weight evenly over the entire foot. You must not stand on tiptoe.
- Hold the position for a few seconds.
- Exhale and push your upper body up over your heels. It is important for the squat version that the upper body remains unchanged during the movement.
What are the squat benefits for our body?
Squatting is actually much more than a simple leg exercise. Performing the exercise regularly offers a variety of benefits for both our whole body and health.
- Tightens legs and buttocks – This is probably the most logical advantage of doing a squat. The exercise primarily strains the quadriceps, leg biceps and large gluteus, which strengthens the legs and tightens the buttocks.
- Strengthens the core muscles – In order to keep your balance during the downward movement, the abdominal and back muscles are included in the squat. The result is a flat stomach and a stronger lower back. A study conducted in 2018 found that the squat is as effective for the core muscles as the classic plank exercise. Strong core muscles can make everyday movements such as turning, bending and even standing much easier and relieve back pain.
- Squats stimulate hormone release – Squats are a classic strength exercise and are therefore a wonderful way to promote the production of growth hormones.
- Help build muscle – The squat execution is fairly static and targets specific muscle groups rather than increasing your heart rate. This will also consume calories, but not like jogging or running on the treadmill.
- Burn calories quickly – Calorie burning is mostly associated with endurance training. However, performing a HIIT training plan with squats and other exercises has proven to be the better way to achieve faster results. In addition to burning fat, it also promotes muscle growth and this in turn ensures the so-called afterburn effect. According to Harvard Medical School, a person weighing 80 kilograms can burn up to 260 calories during 30 minutes of strength training.
- The squat can be done anywhere and without special equipment – Although there are countless variants with dumbbells, kettlebells or fitness bands, the classic squat with its own weight is the ultimate exercise on the go and can be performed anywhere and at any time.
- Is wonderful for an effective upper body workout – If there is one exercise that taps most of the muscles in your body at the same time, it is the squat. Adding weights to your routine also trains your upper body and you essentially have the perfect whole body workout in one exercise.
- Squats against cellulite – No matter how fit you are, you can still have cellulite on your buttocks or legs. Around 90% of women worldwide fight orange peel. One of the biggest advantages that the squat version offers women is that they improve blood circulation. The exercise ensures that sufficient nutrients and oxygen reach the most important organs. Regular muscle stretching and healthy blood flow are real magic bullets against cellulite.
- Improve digestion – Although mainly the leg and gluteus muscles are trained, other muscle groups are also trained. This increases the speed at which fluids flow through the body and the result is better and faster digestion.
- The squat improves flexibility and helps prevent injuries – The reason for most training injuries are weak joints, connective tissue and stabilizer muscles – these are the muscles that are not directly involved in the movement, but support the primary muscle groups in the correct execution. But clean technology is essential for this.
What are the most common squat mistakes?
Just as with all other exercises, the correct and clean execution plays a very important role in the squat. Below are some of the most common squat mistakes.
- The toes stand out from the floor – In order to distribute the load evenly during the exercise and keep your balance, it is very important that the heels do not lift off the floor. This leads to increased pressure in the knees and can cause permanent injuries.
- Knees buckle inwards – By bending the knees inwards, the joint can be placed in an unsafe and unstable position. This increases the risk of injury in the knees and lower back.
- Not enough depth – If you don't squat deep enough, the muscle groups are hardly used. It is therefore important to make sure that the legs are parallel at a 90 degree angle to the floor.
- Keep your eyes down – While it may seem natural to look down while doing the squat, you should keep your neck in a neutral position and your eyes forward. You should also focus on keeping your spine and upper body straight and upright.
Variety in the training routine helps with motivation – squat variations
Once you are familiar with the classic squat style and have mastered the clean technique, you can increase the level of difficulty by adding different squat variations to your training. This helps to keep the exercise interesting while activating different muscle groups. For example, you can use barbells or spa dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine balls or fitness bands. But to prevent serious injuries, it is particularly important to maintain the correct posture.
- Sumo squat is a very slight deviation from the normal squat and differs mainly in the position of the feet. To do this, place your feet a little wider than your hips and point your toes outwards. Tense your stomach, stretch your back and lower your body down. Make sure that the knees are in the same direction as the tips of your feet. Hold the position briefly and then return to the starting position. In addition to the leg and buttock muscles, this exercise also targets the inner thighs.
- Squat with barbell is considered the kingly exercise in weight training. If you are a beginner, we recommend starting with lighter weights and slowly ascending. Place the barbell on your upper back, keeping your chest straight. Place your feet waist-wide and turn them slightly outwards. Tense your stomach and pull back your shoulder blades. Now slowly lower down, hold the position briefly and then stretch up. Make sure that the back does not curve and the spine remains neutral.
- With kettlebell or dumbbells over your head – This variant attacks the lower back and shoulder muscles. The movement hardly differs from the classic squat, so you should pay close attention to your technique. Hold either a medicine ball, a kettlebell or two dumbbells in your hands and hold them over your head during the entire exercise. Place your feet a little wider than shoulder width and then crouch.
- Squat with a jump is a wonderful plyometric exercise, in other words, an aerobic exercise that increases your heart rate and stimulates fat burning. Since the joints are put under greater stress, it is important that you do not have any problems with your knees and hips. You do a normal knee and when you move up, you jump as high as possible.
- One-legged squat is an incredibly effective functional exercise to increase your stamina and coordination. The variant itself is also a real challenge for professional athletes and it is therefore recommended to initially use a chair as an aid. Stand in front of the chair and lift one leg off. Now squat until you touch the chair. From there, return to the starting position. Once you master a clean technique, you can increase the level of difficulty. To do this, stand upright on one leg and stretch the other leg forward. Now crouch as deeply as possible and keep your leg stretched out nicely and above the floor. For more balance, lean slightly forward with your upper body and keep your back straight. Get to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
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