The Power of a Squat!

In my opinion one of the best exercises we can do for our health! Find out why the humble squat is so effective!

How often do you squat? Well, if you are part of the Fitness Bites community you will know that they appear very regularly in our weekly workouts + I will tell you why!!

They are a fabulous exercise for building strength in our lower body + helping us perform everyday activities. But before i touch on the benefits, I just want to highlight that it is super important to get the technique right. If you are new to strength training, it is vital that your form is correct before you add weights.

Now you may think a squat is a squat, but actually there are number of varieties - along with a 'traditional' squat there is a narrow squat, sumo squat, Bulgarian split leg squat, single leg squats to name a few! Each one has a slightly different technique, so nailing the basic movement pattern will really help you add more exercises to your routine!

Squats are a compound exercise which means that they use multiple muscle groups. Whilst we primarily use the quads + glutes, we also need to engage our core + use lots of co-ordination + balance. They are a functional exercise which means the movement pattern is something we use every day such as getting in + out of a car, up + down from a chair + even using the bathroom! So if you want to remain independent + stronger for longer, here are my top 9 reasons for getting those squats in?!!

  1. Great for core strength: We need to engage our deep core muscles whilst squatting + whilst we don't think of it as a core exercise, they really do work the core hard.

  2. Improved knee strength and stability: Building strong quads + glutes can really help take the pressure of the knees, build strength + stability + improve functionality. If you struggle with knee pain there are plenty of scaling options to build up to a full squat such as using a chair + this can really help relieve + improve knee issues.

  3. They are hugely versatile: You can do them bodyweight ANYWHERE or add resistance such as dumb bells, kettle bells or barbels.

  4. More power: If you want to run faster, jump higher or remain agile, they will help improve performance. Studies show progressively adding more load will help you be able to add more force into the ground + therefore jump, move + accelerate more quickly.

  5. Lean muscle: As we know building lean muscle is super important for our metabolic health, for balancing blood sugar levels + protecting our joints. Since squats use the biggest muscles in our bodies (glutes + quads) they are great for helping to create an anabolic environment to encourage the body to build muscle.

  6. Better posture: They help to build better balance + posture by increasing overall strength + enabling us to stand tall + walk more effectively.

  7. Stronger bones: I talk about the risks of osteoporosis a lot! Strength training is extremely important for encouraging our bones to lay down more bone mass + increase bone density. Since how legs contain our biggest bones, a squat is really important for helping our bones stay stronger + offset the effects of aging.

  8. Glute strength! Getting a strong 'booty' may be for aesthetic reasons for some, but actually working the glutes mean better posture, better balance, reduced back issues + stronger for running + walking!

  9. Brain Health: studies have shown that exercising the legs, especially those using resistance, signals the brains to create new nerve cells! More nerve cells better cognitive function!

Squat Challenge!!

Why not test your leg strength?!! See how many squats you can do in 1 minute onto a chair/box.

Make sure your surface allows you to sit to a 90* angle. Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, then set the timer + go! How many did you manage? Check out the chart below to see how you faired!

Need help squatting, then why not consider joining Fitness Bites where you will be guided through this functional movement pattern!

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