You Don't Know Squat!
That is a little harsh, we know you know 'squat.' The title is to grab your attention. Here you are reading this so it must have worked! HAH! Welcome to our spiel on 'How To Get The Most Out of a Squat.'
To start off, if you think that squats are easy then you need to try harder. Sorry to call you out; there is always something you can do to your squat to make it more challenging and effective. First and foremost before we advance onto adding things to the basic squat, we must discuss HOW TO DO A SQUAT in the first place.
Start by standing with a neutral spine with the back of your legs against a couch. Bend your knees and push your hips back, keep your chest high, knees pointed over toes, and bear your weight in the heels. At this point you should be either using your quadriceps to hold your weight up or already sitting on your couch. Whichever it may be, you did a squat. Everyone has a different fitness level when it comes to squats. Understanding this is key to your success in both learning the proper mechanics of a squat and the physical health of your body.
You may be wondering why it is SO important to learn the mechanics of a squat. Squats can make or break your fitness journey. How? You do squats EVERYDAY. Unless you never get out of bed, you do squats everyday. In every fitness program I have ever heard of, squats are implemented in some way. When you perform squats incorrectly, you can injure your spine and knees. Your spine becomes compressed which pinches nerves and continuous pressure could herniate discs. Also, your knees can become inflamed from the added pressure from uneducated strain.
Common misconceptions? The lower I go, the more of a workout I will have. The knee/back pain is normal. Squats have nothing to do with flexibility. I can only benefit from squats if I am lifting weights.
WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!
Everyone has a different fitness level. The lowest you can drop your booty and still maintain proper form will give you the greatest workout for YOU.
The pain is NOT normal unless it is a muscle FATIGUE pain. Become familiar with the difference between muscle pain (bad) and fatigue (good).
Squats do have something to do with flexibility so it is important to STRETCH before doing squats. The most important muscles to warm up before performing squats are: Calves, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, and your ankles!
You do NOT NEED to lift weights to benefit from squats. The most important part about squats is technique. You MUST be doing it correctly to gain any benefits from it. Before adding any weight ask yourself: Can I even squat using my own weight? If you can then take note HOW LOW you can go, HOW MANY reps can do at once, or HOW LONG can you hold that squat?
So what should you do next time you go to workout? LISTEN to your body. Know how strong your body is. Become familiar with how the proper way to perform a squat FEELS.
Signed: Haley McLaughlin 9-30-21