There are few exercises which carry the same reputation as the squat. Squats are regarded as one of the best training exercises, maybe the best who knows? It is extremely challenging for the entire body and as such carries many benefits. Today we are going to cover the main benefits of squatting and how you can get more from this exercise.
Squats are an extremely demanding exercise, not just on your thigh muscles but on the entire body. After 10 reps nearing the point of failure you will notice your heart rate is instantly elevated, you will feel drained, maybe light headed and as though you have just done an entire workout all from one working set. This comes down to the fact that you are engaging some of the biggest muscle groups in your body and you are also lifting your body weight as well as a hefty load across your shoulders.
From a total body recomposition perspective squats are amazing – the stress they cause leads to a natural elevation in growth hormone, testosterone and improved insulin sensitivity. They really are the ultimate exercise for overall muscle growth and fat loss.
Here are our top 3 tips to getting more from your squat workout!
1 – Pause!
Rep tempo will often dictate how challenging an exercise is – to make your squats more challenging count to 2 on the way down and then to 3-4 at the bottom before exploding back to the top like a suppressed coil spring. By controlling this aspect of each rep you will make it more challenging leading to greater muscle fibre recruitment, longer time under tension which equates to more calories burned and overall better muscle fibre stimulation.
2 – Tense!
To further improve the recruitment of muscle fibres learn to tense/squeeze each individual muscle group (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) through different points of the repetition. As you lower the weight engage your hamstrings, at the bottom your glutes and as you drive up your quads. Think ‘’mind to muscle’’ connection.
3 – Vary The Tempo
Whilst slow controlled form makes life very difficult in the squat rack chop and change your rep tempo to take things to the next level. Start by using a set of 10 reps with the tempo illustrated in point 1 and then go straight into 10 reps with a constant tempo – no pausing, just keep moving. You will find by using techniques like this your heart rate will shoot up as will the level of ‘’burn’’ in your leg muscles.
Get squtting and use these pointers to make it a more rewarding experience.