What is a squat exercise?

A squat is a movement that you use almost every day while doing chores. Whether it is sitting on a chair, sitting down to unpack luggage, or going to the bathroom, we squat so frequently that we usually miss this movement.However, if not done correctly, the squatting position can lead to muscle pains and strains. This is where squat exercises come in.Squat exercises are extremely popular and are known to be beneficial for your health. Do you also often wonder about how to do squats, their benefits, and variations?But before this, let us decode this amazing exercise. The squat is a compound exercise that works for multiple muscle groups in your upper and lower body. Including your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and glutes. This also includes the muscles in your knee area.

How to do a basic squat exercise?

Here is an easy-to-understand step-wise breakdown of the basic squat exercise:

  1. Stand straight with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Engage your abdominal muscles while keeping your chest up and shift your weight on your heels. Push your hips as if you are about to sit in a chair.
  3. Lower your hips till your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Pause for a few seconds.
  5. Come back gently to the starting position.

Why should you include squats in your workout regime?

Before we talk about how to do squats, it is important to know why to include different types of squats in your workout regime. Here are some of the most important benefits of squats:

  • Squats are one of the few exercises like Mandukasana that work on such a diverse group of muscles at the same time. Squats work on some of the largest muscles of your body, which is the gluteus maximus. This not only helps in toning and strengthening these muscles but make daily movements smoother.
  • When your muscles are stronger, you can use them with a complete range of motion, balance, and coordination. This prevents the risk of injuries.
  • Squat exercises, just like Ashwini Mudra, are extremely beneficial for strengthening your core muscles. Having a stronger core helps in maintaining a good posture and making your daily movements easier. This also reduces weight from your stomach area and eliminates love handles.
  • One of the most important benefits of squats is that practicing them regularly helps in reducing pain, stiffness, and soreness in your upper and lower body.
  • Squats, especially when combined with high-intensity variations, help in burning some serious calories. This supports weight loss and prevents serious health risks related to obesity such as diabetes, heart issues, kidney issues, etc.
  • Variations of squats such as jump squats help develop excellent strength and speed, which is especially beneficial for athletes and those who are into sports.
  • Squats can be done anywhere without needing any specialized or expensive equipment. They can be done at home, park, or even during a quick break in your office.

Which are the most-effective squat variations that you need to know?

Wondering how to do squat variations? Here is a round-up of different types of squats that you need to include in your routine for excellent health benefits:

1. Sumo squats: 

Sumo squat exercises are a great variation on the basic squats. This sumo squat exercise variation requires your feet to be placed wider than hip-width apart.

Muscles worked: Gluteus muscles, hips, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps, and inner thighs

2. Plank to squat:

This squat variation is one of the best bodyweight exercises that help improve your posture, increase your strength, and enhance your core stability. This variation of squat starts with you being in a plank position and then jumping to assume a squatting position. To do this exercise you need to know how to do a plank.

Muscles worked: Shoulders, glutes, and core

3. Jump squats:

 This is one of the most powerful variations of squats that increases your heart rate and challenges your muscles like no other exercise. In this type of squat, you start with a squat and follow it up with a jump before coming back into the starting position. For this, you need to know how to do a burpee.

Muscles worked: Muscles of the heart, glutes, quadriceps, hips, and hamstrings

4. Barbell squat: 

This is a powerful type of squat that works on the strength of your knees and hips while eliminating lower back problems. Wondering how to do squats with a barbell? To do this, you just need to place a barbell on your shoulders and complete the basic squat exercise.

Muscles worked: Quadriceps, adductors, hamstrings, and glutes

5. Overhead squat: 

Wondering how to do squat variation that improves your flexibility, mobility, and coordination at the same time? The overhead squat involves holding a weight above your head and performing the basic squat exercise.

Muscles worked: Shoulders, abs, hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps

6. Resistance band squat: 

This squat variation is perfect for those people who want to avoid excessive pressure on their joints. Thinking about how to do squats with a resistance band? This is done by standing on your feet while holding the ends of the band. Keeping your hands straight, perform the basic squat exercise.

Muscles worked: Hip adductor, glutes, and quadriceps.

What are some tips for squat exercises?

Squats are intense exercises that involve a variety of muscles. That's why it becomes essential to know these tips before you start doing this exercise:

  • Always do a warm-up session before you start doing squats. This will help prevent muscle soreness and stiffness.
  • Avoid over-exerting yourself by doing an excessive number of squats from the outset. Start slow and build your routine.
  • Avoid squats if you have suffered an injury in your arms, legs, or back. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to know if this exercise will work for you.
  • Listen to your body while doing squats. If you experience pain anytime during working out, stop immediately.
  • In case you suffer from bad knees, you can adjust your weight by varying the placement of your feet.
  • Never squat on the tips of your toes. Always press through your heels.

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July 7, 2022

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