Explore the details on how and why you should be doing squats… and ask yourself do squats really work?
By far, the best exercise, which you could possibly choose for the sake of building your muscles, has to be body squats or just squats in general. However, don’t be fooled. It isn’t the easiest thing to do, unless, you are aware of the dynamics of how to perform it properly. So, let us take a look at the benefits of squats, what makes them such a popular exercise, do squats really work, proper way to do squats and so on.You will learn how to work out at the gym with squats and without the gym.
Using Squats To Get A Healthier Body
Now, this is going to be long and this proves the kind of effort and seriousness; you need to put in your gym workouts.The trainers mostly say that bodyweight squats practically work on every single muscle of your body.
Is it really so?
Well, I personally think it’s pretty close. I mean let’s get shit real your body feels squats the next day. When you wish to burn down the extra body fat, you mostly need to do such exercises which will trigger the right reaction and help you in toning and help lower belly fat. At the same time, when you wish to increase your muscle mass, it is your legs and back that needs to get the highest amount of muscle.
If you are really lean and you want to gain a lot of muscles and even mass, you need to include these leg workouts for mass & include squats..
Before I start teaching you the details of how to squat; here is my own story that you should know. Back in high school, when I started lifting weights, like most other guys, I headed to the gym and had absolutely no clue of what I was doing. One of the “smart” guys helped me out and he directly threw me into the Smith machine.
He loaded up lots of weight on it and there I was doing squats back as a high school student. Owing to the kind of angle that the Smith machine had, it is needless to add that I ended up straining my back more than I should. Trust me; it is such a shitty feeling. I immediately concluded that I was not cut for squats and didn’t end up doing them again until college.
It wasn’t until about 5 years back that I decided to give it one more try. I was skeptical so I only went a little distance before I stood up again. However, I was quick to find that my legs weren’t really getting the right workout and the benefits of squats that nearly everyone speaks of. My legs still looked small and that of a wet noodle.
So, I thought of going back to the Smith Machine and what an idiot I was. It didn’t help.
So, What Did I Finally Do?
I decided that enough was enough and I need to man up and perform actual squats. So, I hopped down right into squat racks and loaded what I thought was the right amount of weight and then started the squats.
Wham, I got stuck in it! Thankfully for me the safety bars were close by and I could easily get out of it without much of fuss. My ego however took a big beating for the a couple minutes.
Shit! So, the next thing I did was took off all the weight that was on the bar.
After that, I performed the low squats with only the bar and that too for just 3 sets of 12 each. My legs stayed sore for nearly 3 days but the best news was that the back was not hurting anymore. So, once I had really started, I kept on adding the weights slowly to it for a period of three months. I wanted to have the perfect form with my squats and slowly but surely my lower back kept getting really strong and the legs workout paid off.
After I was much more confident, I started increasing weights lot more quickly. The muscles then started to build pretty big as well. It is entirely upon you to add weight and choose your resting time in between, but in the end, I would always prefer to have a more amount of rest and stay safe rather than burn my own body out. Personally, I have found because leg are such a large muscle group I would add more rest time than other muscle groups.
The Body Weight Squats Tips
Before I keep going on with how awesome squats truly are, here are a few key tips you must hold on to for the sake of getting better at squats.
- Make it a point to squat down until your thighs seem to be at parallel with the level of the floor. If you are not even exerting this much, it simply infers that you are not truly squatting and you are cheating on yourself. So, even when it aches a little, make it a point to go way down and then you will begin to feel the impact build up in every single muscle in your legs. When you do this, it will help you build a strong core along with really strong legs and back as well.
- You should not extend your knees past your toes. Ideally, you should sit back and your ass should be out and the back should stay straight.
- Make sure to keep the back straight and your head should always stay up when you are doing body squats.
- Your feet should be a little wider apart as compared to the width of your hip.
Here’s a good instructional Video:
Are You Doing A Good Squat?
When you wish to test if you are carrying out the squat in the right manner, you should do the following. Stand up in front of your chair and then squat down on the chair itself. Now, you should stand without leaning forward. When you are performing the squats correctly, your ass will stick out and the back will form a straight line. You will find that you will succeed in standing right back and you will not have to lean ahead because you will be able to do so with ease. You also need to make sure you are squatting pain free.
How To Squat In A Squat Rack
Now that you have already done the chair test and you have excelled in it, you can carry out 3 sets of 12 reps and that should not be a challenge for you. Now, you need to try and add more weight. Get inside the rack and make sure to set the bar at a height such that it is just below the level of your shoulder. The safety bar should be so positioned that they can squat low with ease. Now, you need to duck under the bar and grab the bars with the right impeccable grip. Rest the weight across your upper back. If the weight seems to be bothering you, you can always make use of the bar pad as it will ease the pain.
The Different Squat Positions
There are four primary positions for squatting and they are as follows.
- Flat back
- Elbows high
- Chest up and cut
- Abs tight
I must be quick to add that you should refrain from using a weight belt; until and unless, you are doing heavy weight or you need more back stability.
What If You Don’t Have Squat Racks?
Even if you do not have squat racks, there is absolutely no problem. You can use a few dumbbells and hold them up to press them. This will help you work on your shoulders. Not only that, you can also get a full body workout as well. Whenever you stand for the sake of squats, you need to press the weights up and down. This will help you work on your chest, legs, back, abs, shoulders, and chest as well.
Make sure you should start with really light weight and then slowly as you learn the squats benefits and master the art of practicing them, you can keep on adding weights and thereby get the perfect form. If you are doing it right, you should be able to see the benefits very soon.
There are a lot of ways it can be done including squats without weights, and of course with weights. The next time, you want to put on mass on your legs and you are skeptical of squats, you now know how to get started.
P.S How have squats changed your workout? I want to hear…
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What about knee injuries? Are squats safe for someone with severe osteoarthritis? I’d love to do square and strengthen my weak legs, but I’m afraid I’m going to hurt myself.
Good question… Check out this article I wrote about a month ago http://gymjunkiesmain.wpengine.com/the-squat-free-lower-body-bodybuilding-program/ … Should give you some “squat free” leg workouts if it’s too much for your knees. I also wrote a review on a product that helps with jointpain/osteoarthritis http://gymjunkiesmain.wpengine.com/instaflex-review-can-it-really-erase-your-joint-pain-2/ . I would always consult with your physician first though 🙂
What a great post! It’s one thing to be told to do something or to suddenly declare that you’re going to include a certain thing in your workout regime, but another thing entirely to know exactly how to do it correctly and in the way that benefits you and what you’re trying to achieve the most. I’ve been a bit like you were with squats once, either hurting myself too much and stopping, or doing it wrong and not exerting myself enough, and stopping because of that instead. So when I saw this post I was intrigued because I was stuck in the mindset that they weren’t working for me, or I just wasn’t good at them, and man, has this really put me straight about it. It’s interesting to know the full benefits of doing a proper squat workout and all the tips to make sure that I’m doing it correctly is going to be invaluable. Definitely going to try including them into my workout again and to take all the advice and tips in this article, and the embedded video.