5 Reasons to Squat
5 Reasons to Squat
Even if you’re no longer an athlete, squatting should still be the cornerstone of your training program.
We’ve all heard athletes say (or have said ourselves…) that after sports, “I will NEVER, EVERRRR squat again.” Bad idea. Squatting, even with light to moderate weight for partial or full depth (that’s right, sets don’t have to be miserable, below 90°, and crushingly heavy), can greatly impact your health and quality of life. There are many reasons why squatting should play a major role in your training program, and the points below will help you understand their importance, even if you’re no longer competing.
1. Squats Help You Lose Weight
Obesity rates are clearly a major issue. Squatting, more so than any other exercise, engages our entire body and the more muscle we activate, the greater our caloric burn will be. By overloading our muscles with heavier squats, we can increase our muscle mass, which in turn increases our metabolism and assists in maintaining a healthy weight (as more muscle mass actually burns more calories). Additionally, squatting forces the body to do more work meaning you’re burning calories even after having left the gym.
2. Squats Boost Testosterone Levels
While many bodybuilders can get away with doing isolated workouts, normal human beings who aren’t loaded up with testosterone can’t do the same workouts and see the same gains in lean muscle mass. So what’s an athlete like you to do? Well, studies have shown that compound exercises like squats can drastically increase your natural testosterone levels when done regularly. This will help you maintain and add lean muscle mass and strength at a much faster pace… without the performance enhancing drugs.
3. Squatting Regularly Prevents Injury
Squatting also assists in daily activities that may lead to injury. These activities range from playing with kids, to moving boxes, to other household or work duties. Funny enough, these types of regular activities cause millions of PREVENTABLE injuries and pain every year, all leading to high medical bills.We all know the Average Joe who tried to be a hero and blew out an ankle, ACL, or back. These situations would definitely occur less if we all spent more QT with the squat bar. Squatting develops a strong base from your core through the hips and legs. By strengthening the musculature and connective tissue surrounding these major weight bearing areas, we’re less likely to get sidelined due to a nasty acute injury. I’d recommend saving that 20 bucks you planned to spend on a pizza and beer tonight and instead join a gym where you can take another step toward being healthy and happy.
4. Squats Help Fight Osteoporosis
Squatting regularly also helps battle Osteoporosis, a hard hitting, yet silent, disease that affects everyone over the age of 30. After this age, bones get remodeled in a weaker or “less dense” form. Eventually, many bones become brittle and easy to fracture (as is obvious with older, less active individuals). Weight bearing activities, especially squatting, are essential to maintaining a higher bone density as the body responds to this stress by laying down more bone than if one were to perform a body weight exercise. By squatting with weight overhead or on the front or back of the shoulders, you can load the most important structures such as the vertebrae and bones that make up the pelvic girdle and legs. While not immediately evident, years down the road your body will thank you for the regular structural upkeep.
5. Squats Add Variety to Your Workouts
Last but not least, squatting can be performed in many different variations. There are your traditional back squat, front squats, overhead squats (really develops the core!), and sumo squats. I also consider lunges,step-ups and other single leg squat type exercises to be squat variations that can be performed in a multidirectional fashion. Not only do they all offer similar benefits, but they all also allow for different options when developing your own personal weight training routine. After all, who really wants to do the same thing every time they hit the gym? Not me.
Squatting gets two thumbs up from me when it comes to staying healthy and injury free throughout daily life and athletic activity.When performed correctly, it’s safe, effective, and helps you add lean muscle mass while burning fat. So what are you waiting for? Get off the couch, start performing squats at least 1-2 days a week, and see how transformative this powerful exercise is.
To maximize your gains after squatting heavy weight, 1R would recommend the following supplements:
- Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 Recovery - The carbs and protein will help you recover and build lean muscle faster after tough workouts
- Cytosport L-Glutamine - Needed for immune system support, energy production, and the building and protection of the lean muscle mass when stress is increased on the body
- Cytosport Creatine - By increasing your body's ATP production creatine will help you become more explosive, more powerful, and more athletic when taken before or after workouts
About the Author
Amanda is an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Monmouth University where she works with women's basketball, women's lacrosse, mens and women's track and field and cross country, women's bowling, and men's tennis. Previously she was a graduate assistant strength coach at Gardner-Webb University where she acheived her masters degree in Sport Science and Pedagogy. Prior to GWU, she served as an intern at Bucknell University, Lafayette University, and Stony Brook University. She graduated with a BS in Sport and Exercise Science from DeSales University in Pennsylvania. During her undergrad, Amanda played 4 years of basketball and ended her senior season with a “Sweet 16” appearance in the DIII NCAA Tournament. She is certified through the National Strength and Conditioning Association (CSCS).
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