Squats: the ultimate exercise.
In 2011 Peter Petrou fitness was rated by WOMOW as one of the top 3 personal training businesses in Sydney Australia and my aim is to make top quality personal training affordable to everyone. Including exercise tips and advice, below is just one of numerous articles published online by me to help try to educate people when it comes to health and fitness.
The first & possibly the most important thing I try to install in all of my clients is core stability. I am also always trying to inform my clients that apart from having adequate core strength, leg strength is vital. I mean your legs are what keep you up, your legs are what keep you going and as a former professional boxer and elite Australian amateur representative I can assure you that I always performed the best when my legs were at their strongest.
You also constantly seem to hear morons (hey, what else are you going to call them and hopefully this article will prove to you just how little they actually know about training) saying that they aren’t interested in building leg strength as they just want to increase the strength in their upper bodies. So they do lots of exercises like bench press or rows, well how often in real life do you need to lift a heavy object while laying on your back, bending over or sitting down?
Which leads me to the subject of my article today Squats.
Yes. I am a former professional athlete but now as a personal trainer the majority of my clients are just normal people living normal lives with normal jobs who generally train with me for two hours a week and I feel that in order to get the most out of the time they train it is vital to include the big exercises that give the biggest benefits. Well, squats are THE big exercise.
Squats have been referred to as the king of all exercises as they actual exercise every muscle in your lower body including your core stabilizing muscles and the muscles of your lower back.
No other weight lifting exercise (with the possible exception of the deadlift) does more to promote overall muscle growth than the squat. This is because the squat doesn’t just build muscles in your legs but it also indirectly assists muscle growth in the rest of your body like your biceps, chest and back (just for example).
Which explains that if you want to build muscle you would be stupid to omit squats from your training program. If losing weight is your main aim then you would be just as stupid to omit squats from your training program as studies have shown that the larger the muscle group utilized while training the more calories you will burn. Well let’s have a look at just the major muscles utilized when doing squats:
- Gluteus Maximus (Your Bum)
- Gluteus Medius (Your Thighs)
- Quadriceps (The Front Muscles of Your Legs)
- Hamstrings (The Back Muscle of Your Legs)
- Gastrocnemius (The Top of Your Calf)
- Soleus (The Bottom of Your Calf)
These are just some of the muscles used when doing squats. Yes there are a lot of them and they are also large muscle groups that require a lot of oxygen to continue and equal a lot of calories burnt when used.
Some of the other benefits of squats are:
- Squats will give you leg strength that will help you to maintain mobility as you age and help prevent falls.
- Squats increase the bone density in your legs and hips.
- Squats help to increase functional strength.
- Squats will help improve athletic performance.
- Due to the large amounts of growth hormone and testosterone released while squatting, your upper body will grow larger and stronger than it would if you did not implement squats into your workouts.
There are also many squat alternatives that you can perform with the squat, including front squats, back squats, hack squats, split squats, jump squats, and wide-stance squats. This makes it very easy for you to continually change around your program so that you never need to plateau on this exercise.
Squats are an exercise though that do put a lot of stress on your lower back which is a reason why adequate core stability and correct technique is very important. Also due to the fact that the prime movers of a squat are your quadriceps, hamstrings and your glutes stretching afterwards is vital. As building up these muscles can indirectly put a lot of stress on your back.
This is just a basic example of the benefits of squats and a few simple reasons why you should implement squats into your training program.
Peter Petrou fitness Pty Ltd
Remember: it’s easy to get fit, it’s just hard work