You’ve probably heard many fitness experts recommend squats as a requisite exercise —an all-purpose workout staple with multiple benefits. But have you ever wondered exactly why squats make you stronger? Allow me to share with you the many reasons to add this versatile move to your anti-aging fitness regimen.
They Work Virtually Everything
From your quads to your hamstrings, squats tone the legs, tighten your glutes, and engage your core. This means you won’t just get stronger legs by doing squats, you’ll develop abs without having to do back-straining old fashioned sit-ups.
They Support Your Entire Workout
Injury and inflammation often result from weakness in the muscles and ligaments which stabilize your body while you work out a specific area. Because squats strengthen your core as well as so many other muscle groups, you reduce your risk of a workout-related injury simply by developing a solid squat routine.
They Do What Kegels Don’t
Conventional wisdom has always been that Kegels are supposed to strengthen the pelvic floor. The truth is now getting out – that squatting is much more effective at building strength throughout the hips and pelvic structure. This means better support for the bladder and other organs, improving overall female health.
They Build Mental Strength
Squats don’t simply improve your physical health. They act as a motivator to push through the most difficult challenges. When you squat, you are literally getting down and picking yourself back up again through sheer force of will. This is particularly true once you get to the point of adding weights to your workout. You will have to dig deep —literally — to carry the burden. This makes squats a very effective personal development tool.
How Do You Know You’re Doing Squats Correctly?
The key to reaping all of these benefits from this single exercise is knowing how to perform squats properly. Nothing will send you running back to the couch faster than a pulled muscle or painful back inflammation, so you want to make sure to do it right.
• Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width, toes pointing slightly outward.
• Hold your head up and your back straight —not arched.
• Engage your core/abs throughout the move.
• Lower your legs so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, or hips lower than knees if you can.
• Do not extend your knees past your toes.
If you’re not sure whether you’re doing squats correctly, try doing one over a chair. Squat down until you are seated. Lift back up from the squat without leaning forward to propel yourself off of the chair. If you can do this, you are squatting properly.
Exercise is hard work, it’s true, however the payoff is huge. You’ll gain not only physical strength, but increased mental fortitude, which will help you succeed in all other areas of your life.