Any serious lifter is aware of the fact that squats are the cornerstone of a good workout regime. It’s almost impossible to build and strong lower body without doing squats (or its various variations).
When it comes to squatting, it’s not as simple as loading up the bar and doing squats. There are some important tips and techniques to remember in order to get the maximum benefit of this immensely powerful exercise.
Before I get on to some effective squatting tips, here are some benefits of squatting:
Benefits Of Squatting
Squats have immense benefits when it comes to building a good physique. This has a couple of reasons behind it, some of which include the following:
- First and foremost, squats are a compound exercise that involves a lot of muscle groups resulting in an awesome metabolic response from each and every rep. Squats not only helps you burn a lot of calories but also keeps your body burning calories hours after you are done with your workout.
- Secondly, squats are excellent when it comes to their cardiovascular effect. In other words, they are a perfect cardiovascular exercise. Just one set of 15 or more reps can boost your heart and breathing rate to give you a good sweat. A couple of these sets back to back with smaller rest breaks in between could easily serve as a high-intensity interval cardio workout.
- Thirdly, squats are amazing for enhancing strength. Lifting lower reps with heavier weight can boost your strength dramatically. Squats target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, upper back, core and even shoulders to some extent. It’s a complete body exercise and is great for improving overall body strength.
- Fourth, squats are excellent for increasing testosterone too. Ever performed a chest workout after doing some squats? Try it the next time you have your chest day and see the difference in the pump you get. This is because of a T-boost that you get after doing squats.
Anatomy Of The Squat
While doing squats, you need to keep a couple of things in mind. Here is a breakdown of such points that you need to consider while doing squats:
First of all, your need to consider how to place your foot. Now, a lot of people advise placing your feet one way or the other. However, you need to find the right way to stand through your own biomechanics and how you feel right. You could opt for a slightly wider stance or a narrow foot position. However, what you need to keep in mind is that a wider stance is going to work your hamstrings and glutes, while a narrow stance is great building quads.
Another thing to consider is the angle of your feet. Slightly turning your feet out places more stress on the glutes and hamstring muscles.
More importantly, regardless of where you feet are placed, you need to make sure that your knees move over the toes and not buckle inwards or else it can result in serious knee pain.
A lot of guys often overlook bar placement on their shoulders. Traditional squats are performed with the bar placed higher up on the back just below the base of the neck where it meets the shoulder blades.
If you want to put more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings, you should position the bar lower than that, resting directly across the middle of the shoulder blades.
As far as front squats are concerned, you should place the bar across the front of your body at the collarbone.
The rest period in between sets entirely depends upon your goal of the program. If you want to lose fat then shorter rest periods are the best bet since they can trigger and greater metabolic response.
Contrary to this, if your goal is to increase your strength then you’ll get better results by taking longer rest periods of like at least two minutes in between sets. Such a long rest period will make it possible for your body to recover from the exertion so that you can put your maximum effort in the next set.
Types of Squats
Everyone seems to be aware of the traditional squats but there are many variations that you can use in order to get better results. Some of such variations are listed below:
In this type of squats take a wider stance and turn the out the toes to a greater degree. In this type of squats you are also not likely to go down as far.
As the name suggests, these squats are performed with the bar placed in front of the body with you holding the bar with an underhand grip.
This is one of my favorite movements and trust me, it can make squats really hard. This is performed just like the traditional squat as far as the movement is concerned. The only difference is that when you go down, pause for 3-5 seconds before you get up on your feet.
Next time, you have you leg day, try to these variations of squats to take your workout to en entirely different level.