There are many exercises out there that will help you get fit and healthy, but none more awesome than the squat. It’s a winning combo of calorie-burning and strength-building, plus the added bonus of literally kicking your butt into shape. There are tons of reasons you should get on those squats ASAP, but these are my top three.
Squat, squat, squat, squat, squat! Yep, that’s me repeating that mantra as I get into my squat groove. There was a time when I hated doing squats. I’d lose balance, couldn’t get very low, and usually felt pretty silly doing them. I got the form down, but it wasn’t until I started adding weights that I really began to appreciate the exercise and embrace the challenge of getting them done, and done right.
This exercise is even more beneficial if you’re like me and spend a large chunk of your day sitting at a desk. Squats and all of its variations will help with your hips, back, and quads that get little to no movement when you’re sitting in a char.
Whether you’re new to exercise, or an advanced fitness fanatic, squats should be a fundamental part of your routine.
How do you do squats anyway?
This is one exercise where good form is essential. You may want to practice the technique first and get that down solid before you make it harder by adding weights, otherwise you may risk injury. If you have previous injuries, arthritis, or any kind of issues with your knees, consult with a physician to get the green light prior to loading on the weight. Remember, safety comes first!
There are two key things to remember as you’re practicing your squats: keep your spine neutral and breathe. You want to keep your back as straight as possible as you complete the squat. Also, it’s important to breathe throughout this exercise, as it is with any kind of exercise, so be sure to exhale as you lower your body and inhale as you come back up.
But don’t just take it from me. Watch one of the pros show you the correct way to do a bodyweight squat below:
There are many different reasons why squats are so great for you, but it really boils down to these three.
Squats Build Up Your Strength
Squats are a compound movement, which means that it works more than one joint at a time. In this case, you’re using your knees and hips which engages all of the major muscle groups in your lower body, including quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. Plus you’re using your core to help you stabilize and upper body when adding weights. So you’re getting a LOT of bang out of one simple movement. Pretty cool, huh?
Squats Help You Burn Calories Faster
Since squats work so many muscle groups all at once, your body is working harder and burning more calories. Contrary to popular belief, strength exercises (like squats) that help build muscles are more efficient at burning body fat than doing cardio for an extended period of time. For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day.
Not to knock those who love a good run, but this is where taking your workouts beyond the treadmill or elliptical can really help you achieve your health goals faster. I can tell you from first-hand experience that throwing in strength moves, like squats, got me closer to my goals and transformed my body and mind in so many positive ways.
Squats Are Never Boring
Pistol squats. Goblet squats. Curtsy squats. Front squats. Parallel squats. Pliè squats…. the list goes on and on. There are dozens of variations that you can try anytime you want a different challenge. Greatist offers 40 (so many!) excellent versions that I’m looking to try myself. Best of all, you can do almost all of these moves at home, no gym or equipment required.
Squats are truly awesome and a perfect way to get stronger and healthier with continued practice, and of course a nutritious diet.
So what are you waiting for? Get your butts off that chair and pop a squat!
Have you tried squats? What is your favorite squat variation?
As always, keep paying it forward and stay healthy! 🙂