One of the best exercises whether you wish to gain muscle, lose weight, tone your butt (or all of these), is the squat.
But, it is also the exercise, people struggle to perform. Many of them end up doing it incorrectly.
You might have not realized but it is a fundamental move you have been performing since you were a baby.
We are here to help you with the compound exercise. There are endless variations of squats but in this blog, we’ll share 5 squat variations that you can perform easily, even at home. If you struggle with one, try another. As simple as that. Before getting there, let’s know why squats are worth your best effort:
1] Squats are great for building muscles- Not only do squats build muscle and strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves, but they also work out the entire body. Squatting naturally releases testosterone and growth hormones, which improve the anabolic process during exercise. If your goal is to increase muscle mass, squats will effectively help you achieve the same.
2] You burn more fat by doing squats- Squats are an efficient way to burn more fat. The more muscles your body has, the more calories you burn during exercise and also at rest. If you are a weight watcher and want to get lean, stick to squats.
3] Squats strengthen the joints
Squats have the ability to strengthen the joints and prevent injuries when done appropriately. The body weight is distributed all over your hips, knees, and ankles. There is less pressure on a particular joint as they work together to lift the load.
The basic squat is an easy-to-do exercise that anyone can perform without any hassle.
It is a very effective lower body toning practice that strengthens all of the muscles in the legs, including quadriceps, glutes, thighs, and calves.
While the squat works every muscle in your lower body, the movement helps increase balance, and maintaining a standing posture provides a full leg workout. Improved core strength is an added bonus.
How to do it?
- Stand upright and spread your legs hip-width apart.
- Your hips, knees, and toes should point forward.
- Bend your knees and extend your hips as if you were sitting in a chair.
- Make sure to keep your knees behind your toes and emphasize the weight on your heels.
- Rise and repeat.
Narrow squats target the quadriceps, calf muscles, and other additional muscles. They are performed majorly for the purpose of developing leg muscle and strength. Most individuals will find an increased range of motion while practicing stance narrow squat.
How to do it?
- Stand up and put your feet together.
- Put your hands in front of your chest (or in a prayer position as demonstrated) to retain balance and bend your knees.
- Lower your hips, and keep your thighs as parallel to the floor as possible.
- Make sure to lay your weight on your heel.
- Then, rise up, fully straighten your legs and push your abs to get the most out of your workout.
- Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
Performing wide squats has many benefits, including increased muscle activation, less joint tension, and enhanced lifting mechanisms. Sitting in a wider position may feel strange at first, but with time, it will get better.
How to do it?
- Start with your feet more than shoulder-width (Extend more than you would do while performing normal squat) apart on a flat surface.
- Bend your hips and knees and push them to the sides.
- Keep your head with your eyes and chest up.
- Your heels should still be touching the ground and your weight should be at the center of the foot.
- Keep going down until your hips are parallel with your knees and thighs.
- In the same moment, raise your arms straight forward at shoulder level.
- Quickly reverse the movement to return to the original position. As you squat, push your knees outward.
If you are ready to take your normal squats to new heights, try squat jumps. It targets the muscles of the legs, quadriceps, buttocks, and hamstrings. As you jump, your heart rate will also increase. This is also a great exercise to get your heart pumping.
How to do it?
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes slightly outward.
- Bend your knees and spine so that the weight of the body is on your heels and upper chest.
- Firmly squeeze your hips as you go down, keeping your pelvis forwards and your toes touching the floor in the last second.
- Land slowly, then use force from your feet, take a jump, and switch to the next squat in the same moment.
- Repeat the pattern 10 times.
Squat Pulse is a full body workout because it works the muscles of the thighs, buttocks and back. It also strengthens the quadriceps muscles - the largest muscles in the thighs and hamstrings - an important group of muscles that aid in the stretching movement of the thighs.
How to do it?
- Stand up straight and spread your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart.
- Keep your chest and shoulders back and your arms forward for balance.
- When you begin to squat, contract your stomach and exhale.
- Bring yourself into a general squat position.
- As you rise, stop halfway.
- Now go down to the bottom of the squat position as low as possible but without breaking the form.
- Pulse a few inches up and go down again, this several times at a moderate pace.
- Repeat as per your convenience.
While exercising from home, make sure you do all the squats correctly under the surveillance of a trainer initially (online), to get the most of your efforts. You can also use weights while doing these squats. How? Get a personalized plan curated by a fitness expert on The Wellness Corner to produce your intended result.