Thursday, November 1, 2012


Squats are one of the single best exercises that you can do for you entire body. But be aware that doing squats incorrectly can be one of the worst exercises for your body, causing injury to your spine and lower back and putting undue stress on your knees. Squats are a compound exercise that primarily work your hips, buttocks ,thighs and hamstrings as well as your core. The average person who works out usually steers away from what they perceive to be such a difficult exercise. They usually opt. to do leg extensions, hamstring curls or the leg press machine. Even worse, they attempt to do a squat on a smith machine which puts your body in poor alignment. Make sure that you have proper postural alignment, which will allow for optimum neuromuscular efficiency, basically meaning that you want all muscle groups to work together in perfect order, much like an orchestra. The first step in doing a squat correctly is making sure that you are wearing the proper shoe, a perfect example would be a running shoe which provides a strong heal support. Stand slightly wider than hips width distance with toes pointing straight ahead, the ankle and foot should be in a neutral position. Now sit back as if you were going to sit on a chair that is positioned behind you, pulling your belly button in, working your transverse abs. As you begin to sit back, pull your hips back simultaneously as you are bending at the knee. Squat down to the height of a chair and return to the starting position pushing back up thru your heals and not coming up on the ball of your foot. Coming up on the ball of your foot puts stress on your knees. Keep your chest up, making sure not to bend at your waist. Repetitions should be slow and controlled in both executions of the exercise. Repeat this movement 10-15 times. There are many variations to performing a squat, here are some examples that I like using with my clients: Body weight squat- performed with no weight, using your own body weight. Great for warming up or beginners. Back squat- bar is held across your neck on the back of your body Front squat-bar is held across the front of your body across deltoids (shoulders) and clavicles,usually with much lighter weight than on a back squat. Plie squat or sumo squat- This variation also incorporates your inner thigh. Hold a dumbbell between your legs standing in a slightly wider than shoulder width stance, keeping your knees and feet in alignment pointing outward. Bend the knees and lower into a squat keeping knees in line with toes. Split squat-an assisted one-legged squat where the non-lifting leg is rested on the ground a few steps behind the lifter, as if it were a static lunge. making sure when you descend both knees bend and making sure that back knee does not touch the ground. Push up from the heal of your front foot and ball of your toe on the back foot. Squats increase overall strength for your whole body as well as releasing natural growth hormones. If performed correctly, I advocate squats as one of the best overall exercises that you can do. Jimmy Johnson

No comments:

Post a Comment