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Hate squats? Why you should learn to love them!

Hate squats? Why you should learn to love them!

Hate squats? Why you should learn to love them!

If you hate squats but are looking to improve your body composition, have abs, tone your lower body muscles and take your training to the next level? Then you might want to reconsider your position on squats. Metaphorically and physically. 

Even during the humble body weight squat your movement will hit the following muscles. 

  • quads

  • hamstrings

  • glutes

  • calves

  • abdominals
     

One thing we love about squats at Fitness Warehouse is the amount of variations there are; body weight, rack squats, split squats, goblet squats, band squats, sumo squats, overhead squats… the list is endless.

As the squat movement mimics real life scenarios it has a huge carry-over into your everyday life; walking, sitting down, climbing stairs, carrying objects, getting things off of low shelves and even using the bathroom. They'll also help improve your athletic ability too. 

For great fitness results we suggest incorporating squats into your weekly workout routines. If you aren’t sure where to start, find a certified personal trainer like Max Martin from iNform Health & Fitness or Sean Baker from PEAQ Performance who can show you the correct technique and create a program for you.

Squats are a big bang for your buck exercise, meaning you'll burn a lot of calories whilst doing them. They’re also really accessible because they don’t require much equipment when you’re first starting out. Want more of a challenge? Simply add some kettlebells, dumbbells or a barbell. Below are some of our favourite squat variations.

 

Body Weight Squat
Beginner


Muscles worked: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs and calves

To perform a basic squat using only your own body weight, follow these steps:

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, with toes slightly turned outward.

  2. Brace your core, keeping your chest upright, start to shift your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips behind you as you squat down.

  3. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the ground, and your knees should remain over your second toe.

  4. Keep your chest upright and your feet on the floor, and breathe out as you push yourself back up to the start position.

  5. Do 12-15 reps.

Fitness Warehouse Body Weight Squat

 

Back Squat
Advanced
 

Muscles worked: Glutes, legs, hips, lats, erector spinae, core.
Equipment needed: Barbell and rack, band optional.

  1. Start with the barbell on the rack, placed just below shoulder height.

  2. Position yourself under the bar so it’s resting across the top of your back, and grip the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width distance apart, arms facing forward.

  3. Stand up to bring the bar off the rack. You may need to step back slightly.

  4. With your feet shoulder-width distance apart and chest up, squat down until your hips are below your knees.

  5. Press feet firmly into the ground, and push your hips back to stand up.

  6. Do 8-10 reps depending on the weight of the bar and your fitness level. Then slowly step forward to replace the bar on the rack.

 

Fitness Warehouse back squat

 

Goblet squat
Intermediate
 

Muscles worked: quads, calves, glutes, core, and biceps and shoulders
Equipment needed: Kettlebell.

  1. Start by standing with your feet roughly shoulder width apart and your toes pointing out slightly.

  2. Hold the kettlebell upside down at chest height, keeping weight in the back of your heels, start to lower your hips and bend your knees into a squat. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

  3. Stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

  4. Complete 10-20 reps. For more of a challenge, do as many goblet squats as you can in 30 or 60 seconds. 

 

Fitness Warehouse Goblet Squat

 

Squat with band
Intermediate


Muscles worked: quads, calves, glutes, core, and biceps and shoulders
Equipment needed: Resist/ Assist Band 

  1. Stand on the band with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. 

  2. Bring the top of the band up to your shoulders with your elbows facing forward. Brace your core, keeping your chest upright, start to shift your weight back into your heels while pushing your hips behind you as you squat down.

  3. Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Your feet should remain flat on the ground, and your knees should remain over your second toe.

  4. Sit straight down, Stand straight, chest up, abs firm, pressing knees out over your toes. Rise back up to start position and repeat for 8 to 12 reps.

 

Fitness Warehouse Squat With Band

 

What's not to love about squats? Apart from DOMS of course. They help with pre-habilitation, improve balance, improve agility, improve power, boost athletic performance and build lean muscle mass to make you a calorie burning machine. Further to that, various types of squats force muscles of the upper and lower body to work together in unison which has a large carry-over into athletic performance. 

Did you know that a study in 2018 published in the Journal of Human Kinetics showed that there was greater activation in the muscles that support your lower back in squatting when compared to holding a plank. So don't just think of your legs with the benefits of squats, they can really improve your core as well.

Once you've locked down the basics of the squat have some fun in trying different styles and variations in your workouts. As always, if you don't know how to do a certain exercise find a trainer that can help you out. Happy squatting. 

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