If there were one exercise that you could and should do every day, squats would most definitely at the very least. Squats offer you all round lower body strength training which is pretty important for mobility, even in daily life. Squats build lean muscle in your lower body and keep your core engaged for multiple benefits. However, the best part about doing squats is that unless you’re lifting really heavy, you can do them every day! Are you on the lookout for useful references when it comes to squats? We have got your covered!
Benefits of squats
Doing squats on a regular basis can make you leaner and stronger. Squats are part of every athlete’s regime because of the explosive strength it builds in the body. It strengthens your physique and keeps injuries at bay. This exercise also gives you a toned butt, burning the excess flab in the entire lower chain.
These are the benefits it offers:
Builds your whole physique (not just legs)
It’s a functional movement
Burns the flab
Increases balance and augments mobility
Tones your entire body and lower chain, specifically
Different types of squats
There are several types of squats out there, some of them target different areas and might be easier or harder, depending on the person doing it. Below I assess the different types of squats and how they help to tone the whole body.
Body Weight Squat
This is the first type of squat I got down to doing because I’ve never squatted before in my life. Regardless, even after close to a year, I don’t skip this. This basic squat has all the benefits mentioned above with a general focus on your whole body. It doesn’t need any equipment, and you can do it when you’re on the move as well.
This exercise is pretty straightforward to do; stand up straight, legs shoulder width apart. Move down by pushing your hips back, while being mindful of keeping your knees and calves straight. Remember to not let your knee go past your feet. Pause for a second and then push back up to the starting position.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The split squat is something that you might have to work up to because you need to work your core to keep your balance. This is intermediate in difficulty when compared to the other types of squats on our list, and you should have no real problems getting the movement down.
The difference here is that you hook your leg on a bench or some object that is flat and comfortably elevated. With your front foot flat on the ground, lower yourself keeping in mind not to let your knee go past your toes. Slowly move back to the starting position. Repeat and remember to switch sides.
When it comes to difficulty, this was one of the harder squats for me. One-legged squats or pistols pretty much seem undoable when you first start out but if you stick with it, you can and will pull it off. This is one exercise that will seriously tax your legs because you lift your entire body on just one leg.
The starting position is on one leg while keeping the other leg straight in front of you. Now lower yourself on one leg keeping the other leg straight. Your objective here is to touch your calf muscle on the bent leg to the back of your straight leg. Go back to the starting position. Repeat and remember to switch sides.
While this is not as hard as the others, it is difficult to do too many reps if you’re just starting out. Basically, this is squats incorporated with a jump at the top of the movement. This builds even more explosive strength in your legs. This is a great alternative to plyometric movement when you don’t have a plyo box lying around.
It is pretty much the same as the bodyweight squat movement but you must remember to push yourself to the point of liftoff when you’re getting back to the starting position. You have to be careful to land softly on the front of your feet rather than the heels to minimize injury.
While there are a lot more squat variations available, I focused on these because they can help build overall physique, balance, and explosive strength. I found the harder variations difficult to do at first, but I gave myself time and worked up to it. Do share in the comments how incorporating squats helped you get more out of your exercise regime!
Written by: Ally Siegel
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