Feb 9, 2021
Squats: The Key Movement in Exercise & Sports

The health benefits of squats include strengthening the lower body and core muscles, burning calories and helping you lose weight, and reducing your injury risk.

But squats only have the above-mentioned benefits if they are correctly done. Once perfected, however, the squat is the gateway movement to multiple advanced exercises like front squats, deadlifts, pistols, box jumps, and more.

Photo: Marco Crupi / Creative Commons

It was stated in the study, Muscle Activity in Single- vs. Double-Leg Squats, that “the resulting leg, hip, and back strength from the prescription of systematic squat resistance training reportedly improves athletic performance.”

A recent story on LiveMint.com highlighted some truths about squats — including being a key movement in both exercise and sports. Below is an excerpt from that story.

Learning the Squat

This is one movement we perform even before we start walking and do it multiple times a day, every day, without even realizing it; from slipping in and out of a chair to getting in and out of a car, humans squat all the time. Yet getting your first full squat right with a full range of motion can be difficult.

“It is a fundamental and foundational movement for clients from both the general population and athletic background. And it is not easy to get the form right or achieve the full range of motion given our sedentary lifestyles,” explains Vinit Mathew Baptist, a functional range conditioning and mobility specialist and Olympic weightlifting coach. “The fact that most people don’t flex their ankles, knees or hips as much as they should makes the muscles around the joints weak or stiff and the joints themselves a bit rusty. That makes squat an extremely challenging exercise for newbies and they struggle to go through the full range of motion without compromising their form.”

Squats in Action

The squat movement is so common in sports that we don’t even notice it. Take, for example, the basketball player jumping up to shoot or block. He performs a half squat to bring the spring action into play so that the jump is higher and effective. Goalkeepers in hockey perform quarter to half squats to generate enough spring action for their jumps and dives while attempting saves.

Mastering the Squat

1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Your toes could be parallel or pointing outwards. Pick a position comfortable for you.

2. With your torso upright and core engaged, start lowering the butt towards the floor while pushing the knees to the sides and not in front towards the toes.

3. Go as far down as you can for full range of motion or till the butt is just below parallel. From this bottom position, while keeping the torso upright and engaging the glutes and quads, stand up straight back to the starting position.

To read the full story from LiveMint.com, click here

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