If your training instructor hasn't incorporated various types of squats into their classes and workout programs, you need to seek real help. Squats are one of those exercises that people can do without expensive equipment. But the question still lies and we are here to give answers.

What Are Squats?

It is a strength-building exercise in which you lower your hips until they almost touch the ground and then stand back up. Contrary to what some may think, squats aren’t just for athletes, bodybuilders or weight lifters, they’re for everyone wanting to tone up at any age and they can be done anywhere, at any time. Some people even go as far as to say that squatting is the best exercise you can do. In two words: squats benefits.

How To Do A Squat?

You don't need any extra equipment to do a classic squat. All you have to do is stand with your feet firmly planted on the floor hip-distance apart. Keep your feet parallel to each other and your toes should be slightly turned outwards. With your spine straight, shoulders back, and chest up, bend and send your hips back.

Then bend your knees as you lower even more until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Make sure your spine stays neutral, your chest should not be collapsing inwards nor should your lower back be arched. Hold the position for 5 seconds.

Rise back up, pressing through your heels, and straighten your hips back to the starting position. If you’re not working out already, talk to your doctor and a professional health trainer before you get started. They can let you know if squats are safe for you to do.

Benefits Of Squat Exercises

Squats are also the foundational exercise for building size and strength in the lower body as well as the core which works to stabilize you. The primary muscles used are the quads which are located in the front of your thighs, the adductor magnus muscle which is located in the side of the thigh and the glutes which are the hip muscles.

The speed at which fluids travel through your body is improved when exercising your leg muscles, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to travel through your body’s organs. Squats improve your flexibility, too. As you become older, your tendons, muscles, and ligaments become less elastic. Regularly doing squats can help slow down this process and limber you up.

Because they help you build muscle, you’ll become more efficient at burning calories so you can get to that slimmer physique faster. Add weights to your squats and you’ll burn the calories even quicker.

If you want to lose weight then definitely squats shouldn't be missed. Also, squats benefit females as it helps with digestion. Squats help to strengthen these supportive tissues, which can mean the difference between an injury or not. Just be careful when you’re squatting too.

Squat Variation Exercises Explained

Squats benefits are immense if you want to structure butt and leg workouts. A staple to give you the body of your dreams, squats strengthen every muscle of your lower body. Spice up the classic move with these six squat variation exercises for max lower-body benefits.

Check them out!

Air Squat

Why air squat works:  Again a staple, it is the foundation if you want to nail any other squat variation. Also known as bodyweight squats, you should feel them in your thighs and your glutes.

How to do an air squat:

  • Start standing by keeping your feet at shoulder level apart with toes pointed straight ahead. Keeping the head in line with the tailbone, shift hips back and bend at knees.
  • Lower down until thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to the standing position.
  • Continue the move 10-15 times and move on to the next exercise. Loop all your moves for a workout routine.

Squat To Heel Raise

Why squat to heel raise works: It is great for getting your heart rate up without jumping! As it stretches all of the muscles of your body, it can be a start to pump up your workouts.

How to do a heel raise:

  • Stand with heels wider than shoulder distance apart, toes turned out slightly.
  • Bend at knees, sit hips back, and lower down into a squat, dropping arms down to touch the floor between legs.
  • Then, drive through heels to stand up, lifting arms straight up overhead. Stretch your body as much as you can with ease.

Isometric Squat

Why an isometric squat works:  This variation of Squats benefits your body as it helps you build strength and muscular endurance (and work on your range of motion) without equipment.

How to do an isometric squat:

  • Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart, hands by sides.
  • Push hips back and bend at knees until thighs are nearly parallel to the floor while bringing hands to clasp in front of the chest.
  • Hold for five seconds. Start with 10 and increase the number gradually once you master the move to take your workout sessions to the next level.

Squat To Lunge

Why a squat to lunge works:  Squats are considered to be the best exercise for lower body workouts while lunges increase muscle mass to build up strength and tone your body. Together? They are the holy grail!

How to do a squat to lunge:

  • To do the Squat to Lunge, start with your feet about hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Squat down, sitting your butt back.
  • Bend knees and sink hips to lower down into a squat, then press through heels to return to standing.
  • Now, take a large step forward with your left foot and bend at both knees to lower down until both legs form 90-degree angles. Return to start.

Beginners can start by stepping between the two moves instead of jumping.

Goblet Squat

Why a goblet squat works:  Goblet squats are a full-body movement. They work your quads, calves, glutes, and entire core, and your arms and grip strength. Truly a good challenge for your core.

How to do a goblet squat:

  • Goblet Squats are air squats that are performed with the addition of a dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, or anything else that's heavy and compact.
  • Start standing with feet hip-width apart holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of the chest with elbows pointing toward the floor.
  • Push hips back and bend knees to lower into a squat.
  • Press through heels to return to start.

Wide Leg Sumo Squat

Why a wide leg sumo squat works:  While all squats work the glutes, hip flexors, quads, hamstrings and calves, the leg positioning of the sumo squat works the inner thighs as well. This variation of squats benefits women to get that hourglass figure and men for round buttocks.

How to do a wide leg sumo squat: 

  • Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out at 45 degrees, torso leaned slightly forward. Inhale as you bend your knees and sink your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale and drive through your heels back to the starting position.
  • Do eight to fifteen.

Disadvantages And Risks Of Squatting

While this one exercise can help you to fight depression and also improve your brain health, it can also have a few disadvantages. Squats actually increase your muscle mass while increasing your muscle strength. Without dieting, squats can increase your weight. So before starting your training you should know the side effects as well. Squats cause tightening of muscles, tendons and ligaments in the knee joint. This tightening can reduce the flexibility ranges and thus cause pain or injury to your knee. 

Repetitive movements, heavyweight or wrong form can lead to soreness. Acute soreness happens due to lactic acid buildup in your body. Delayed soreness can happen after one or 5 days. Delayed soreness occurs due to inadequate rest, less recovery time between workouts.

And what happens when you don’t give your body enough time to rest and heal? It can probably cause more damage than good, even possibly muscle tear.

Safety Tips While Squatting

  • Always start with a warm-up session! The warm-up could include running or light cardio.
  • A good warm-up exercise to activate your glutes? The Glute bridge. Lay on the ground with your knees bent and feet close to your body. Lift your hips off the floor and squeeze your glutes. At this stage, your body should form a diagonal line from the knees to the shoulders. Slowly lower back to the floor.
  • When doing a Squat, press your knees outward (don't let them cave in) throughout the movement. Otherwise, it increases the risk of knee injury and puts more pressure on the quads instead of the glutes.
  • Keep your core tight and your torso upright, and squeeze your glutes at the top.
  • Not leading with your hips is one of the most common mistakes. The squat movement is initiated with your hips, not your knees.
  • A proud chest is key to a proper squat so make sure to allow your chest to fall forward.
  • While squatting don’t forget to breathe. Inhale on the way down, exhale on the way back up.
  • Keeping that in mind, if you do squats with heavy weights it is recommended that you hold your breath while rising and exhale when you’re fully upright. This helps core stability and protects the spine when holding heavy loads.
  • While Squats benefit your body to a great extent, don’t overdo them. Rotate your exercises for a well-rounded workout session.
  • Give yourself time to rest and your body to heal post-workout. So before you jump into another workout see if you have put in at least 24 hours between the last time you worked out those muscles.

Final Thoughts

If you aren’t squatting yet, it’s time to give it a try! Nailing proper form to start is key, so go slowly and make sure you feel comfortable with the movement before progressing. As you now are aware of so many squats benefits, amp up your home workout routine by mixing up different weights.

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