Are you looking for an exercise with a multitude of variations that works numerous muscles?
The Squat offers just that. It is a staple exercise in many fitness regimens because it is an effective workout for numerous muscle groups, and it doesn’t require special equipment or a gym membership. Suitable for beginners and fitness gurus alike, it offers the ultimate in fitness versatility.
What Is The Squat Exercise?
The Squat is an exercise that can be done anywhere using the practitioner’s own bodyweight. It’s a strength exercise meant to tone the glutes, in particular, but this exercise also benefits the quads and hamstrings. The Squat also provides a workout for the abdominal muscles when done with proper form.
Squats Throughout History
The Squat isn’t a new kid on the block – this is a tried and true exercise. It’s roots can be traced to ancient times, as it has been utilized for thousands of years in jnana yoga. The modern squat, however, was popularized in the 1940s by three fitness enthusiasts: Milo Steinborn, Mark Berry and J.C. Hise. It later evolved into heavy squatting with a barbell.
Understanding More About The Squat
The Squat is a strength exercise, done using your own bodyweight. It is also a multi-joint exercise, in that it works the glutes, quads, hamstrings and hips.
The Squat is also considered an important functional exercise. This means it uses a movement pattern that you employ in everyday life during activities such as picking up a heavy bag of groceries.
Squat Performance Preparation
The Squat works many muscle groups, so you’ll want to take the time to stretch well before beginning.
How-To: The Squat In Five Easy Steps
The Squat may look fairly basic – stand, lower your hips, stand back up – but it’s actually a somewhat technical exercise. Follow these steps to do an effective Squat:
- Stand with feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointed slightly outward and your arms hanging at your sides.
- Shift your weight onto your heels, engaging your abdominals and keeping your chest open and lifted.
- Push backward with your hips and bend your knees to lower into a Squat. As you do so, bring your palms loosely together in front of your chest by bending your elbows.
- Drive down through your heels and stand up, engaging your glutes when you’re standing tall.
- Repeat for your desired amount of repetitions.
Benefits Of The Squat
Many people perform Squats solely for the benefits of more toned gluteus muscles. However, this exercise also strengthens and tones the:
- Hip Muscles
- Abdominal Muscles
Squat Exercise Variations and Modifications
One popular modification of the traditional Squat is to add free weights or resistance bands to enhance the workout.
Additionally, there are more than one dozen variations of the traditional Squat, with the most popular being:
- Jump Squat
- Sumo Squat
- Squat Jack
- Kettlebell Squat
- Sumo Squat Swing
The Squat can be added to nearly any fitness regimen to boost results in the glutes, especially, but also in the core and other muscle systems of the body. Since it is a functional exercise, it can also positively impact your everyday life.