The squat should be the staple exercise of any strength and fitness routine. It is the king of exercises and can have enormous benefits.
It’s a lower body strength building exercise, usually performed with a barbell on the back, with a kettlebell/dumbells or without any weight at all as a cardiovascular exercise.
The benefits to squatting are truly amazing:
The squat severely taxes the biggest muscle groups on your body – your thighs and your buttocks. It is brilliant at creating the tiny micro-tears that make your muscles grow, but also encourages your body to release growth-inducing hormones. And muscle growth in your thighs and buttocks means one thing – better fitting jeans!
The squat strengthens and stabilises your core, back, hips and knees. As well as strengthening the relevant muscle groups, it can strengthen bone and connective tissue which can reduce your risk of injury and improve join strength as you age. It will also greatly improve your posture.
A properly performed squat requires good balance and co-ordination. This trains your central nervous system, inner ear and body control so that, long-term, your balance improves and you have a better mind-body connection. You’ll be able to move more fluidly and gracefully.
If you’re into your sport, the squat is an essential exercise. It’s been shown that high squat strength has a strong correlation with sprinting speed, jumping height and power development. Those are useful in almost any sport! From tennis to rugby, being able to explode powerfully in any direction will make you a better player.
Due to the sheer number of muscles taxed by a set of squats, your heart-rate will skyrocket and stay elevated for a while after you’ve finished. This will help you burn fat. What’s more, you’ll continue burning fat for days afterwards as your body works hard to repair all the tiny tears in your muscles.
The squat is a wonderful exercise and should be considered anyone looking to get in shape or improve their sport. But good form is essential – you should ask one of our trainers to help you out. It’s far better to start out with very light or no weight and get your form right, rather than try to lift heavy loads incorrectly.