What if we told you that there was a total body workout that you don’t need a strength training class for?
What if we told you it works your entire body, including your legs, glutes, lats, hamstrings, abs, lower back and spine?
What if we also told you you could do it anywhere, with no gym membership involved?
Introducing: The squat. The squat is a powerhouse of an exercise that if performed regularly can see incredible results, including muscle definition, higher muscle mass, increased body strength and even weight loss.
Here are 6 reasons why women should squat, and squat regularly.
1. You improve your overall body strength
Squats are a strength-building foundational movement and help us to build a strong foundation that’s more capable of being resistant to injury.
Even just the motion of sitting to standing and then back up again counts as a squat, so the more naturalistic practice we can get – the easier squats will be over time.
Eventually, our body strength and stamina will be improved, our hip flexors able to offer much more flexibility, and our lower back will have improved stability.
2. You give your legs a total workout
The legs are a core part of the squat. They keep us stable, and use their strength to both lower us down without falling over, and stand us upright again.
When we lower, we use our hamstrings, and when we stand, we’re working the glutes and the quadriceps, which gives our legs a complete workout.
To ensure we’re working all the correct leg muscles, we can cross-check this with the proper form which is as follows:
- Make sure your feet are pointing straight forward or slightly outward.
- Lower your hips down and back, ensuring that both your knees track over left and right your second and third toe.
- Make sure your knees stay behind your toes and ensure you’re trying to prevent them from coming in toward each other.
- Keep your shoulders down and back, chest open, and hold a neutral spine.
3. You strengthen your core
Squats not only strengthen your legs but also strengthen and stabilise your core.
As part of the movement involves keeping your chest up, shoulders down and back and your spine straight, the muscles of your abs and back need to be engaged to manage everything that’s going on.
To engage your core, inhale as you lower down and then exhale as you stand.
This full-body workout aspect is a primary reason squats are so highly accredited in the fitness world: Because they’re not just working your legs and glutes, they’re also working your lats, abs, hip flexors and lower back.
4. You don’t need a gym
Some exercises, like bench presses and deadlifts, require you to go to a gym to perform. Sometimes after a long or busy day, we can’t find the time or motivation to drag ourselves out of the house and down to one.
However, with squats, there’s no need to haul yourself down to your gym. Squats can be done anywhere, at home as part of a home workout, as a 20 rep start the day exercise boost before work, or even in your lunch break.
The best part is you’re getting a total body workout wherever you choose to do it – no equipment needed!
5. You can change them up
Squats are also incredibly variable. Other exercises like planks and crunches only have a few different variations, but with squats, the possibilities are endless.
For example, you could add a resistance band around your knees. You could perform weighted squats with a barbell. You could add dumbbell exercises, like bicep curling every time you come back to standing. You can turn your toes out or step your feet wider for a deeper squat. Or you can even lift up your heels for more activation in the calves.
See what we mean? Whether you just want to shake your stance or up your burn, the way that you use squats is entirely up to you.
6. You help to support your bones
Doing regular strength training exercises like squats helps to increase your lean muscle mass whilst also supporting your bones.
The femur, which is the largest bone in the body found in the thigh, is actually connected to the largest muscles in the body too: Your glutes!
So not only are you strengthening your glutes every time you squat, but you’re also helping to support and strengthen your bones, which helps with posture and defends against serious injury.
Plus, the more muscle that you work and build, the more calories you will burn throughout the day as the muscle breaks down and repairs itself. Win-win!