Squats are one of the most common exercises utilised in the gym.
But why is everyone doing them? Strength gains? Big booty? Fat loss?
Well let’s explain the benefits of squatting.
Squatting is 1 of our 7 most basic, primal and natural movement patterns. As infants we learn to crawl, stand, squat and walk. Maintaining these skills, as we get older is essential to support the way we move, function and create strength.
Obviously, squats are great for increasing overall strength and endurance in our legs, but they also benefit many other areas and systems within our bodies.
Front and back squats have been shown to have a positive effect in increasing the strength of our spinal erector and rectus abdominal muscles. Due to the dynamic nature of the exercise it demands the activation of stabilisation muscles of the abdominal trunk muscles. So rather than jumping onto the leg press machine, get squatting for a stronger core!
Need to run faster or improve running endurance? Deep squats are the answer! Activation of the rectus femoris (quads), erector spinae (lower back) and bicep femoris (hamstrings) is greater when full range deep squats are performed, therefore increasing strength in these muscles. Having an equal balance of strength between the hamstrings and quads will decrease the risk of injury significantly and can also contribute to improvement in running technique and posture.
Osteoporosis has been an issue for young and old for years. Since moving away from active lifestyles bone density issues have increased dramatically. Weight baring exercises have been known to help increase bone density rather than aerobic exercise. Specific heavy resistance training that load the spine such as squats and deadlifts are essential for optimal bone density.
So besides the positive effects squats have on strength and performance it can also help with digestion and elimination. Yep that’s right – it can help you poop better! The motion of squatting helps digestion and elimination as it causes pressure changes in the abdominal and thoracic cavities, which helps improve function of the internal organs. When the action of a full squat is repeatedly performed, the thighs create a pressure wave, which compresses the abdominal organs. Coupled with the mechanical action of the thighs, this pressure wave mobilises your organs and pumps blood and lymphatic fluids as well as aiding the intestinal system.
Start including squats in your weekly exercise program and you will improve all aspects of your health and fitness. If you aren’t too confident with it get down to Bailey Fitness and speak to one of our Personal Trainers in any of our three locations. They can analyse your movement patterns and walk you through the correct technique and advise you on your training based on your fitness goals.