Shaping your thighs Muscle and Fitness Hers
If you think these statements are true, then you don’t know squat about what’s commonly considered the king or should we say queen? of leg and glute exercises. We hear all kinds of excuses on why women don’t squat, and we still don’t buy a single one. Open yourself up to new ways of thinking and let us convince you of all the reasons why squatting may be one of the single best exercises you can do.
What’s Up, Squat?
Squats are considered No. 1 for a number of reasons. First, they’re the most functional exercise for daily life. Just think about how many times a day you squat: when you sit down in a chair, when you crouch down to pick a bag of groceries or your child off the floor, or when you get the papers out of the bottom file drawer. Squatting also works the largest muscles of your body: the quadriceps (front of the thighs), adductors (inner thighs), gluteals (buttocks), hamstrings (back of thighs), the gastrocnemius/soleus complex (calves) and the erector spinae (lower back). Not many other exercises can do so much in a single movement. In addition, squats can help you develop flexibility around your hips and calves when you follow proper form and gradually increase your range of motion.
If you’re an athlete already involved in a sport or want to be more athletic, squats offer exceptional preparation. Because the muscles used during squatting are the same as those used for jumping, sprinting and running, squats provide the perfect transfer to the biomechanically similar motions of most ground based sports (1). If you’re interested in running faster, lunging for that out of reach tennis ball or jumping up for the perfect volleyball spike, squats should be an essential component of your training program.
Here’s even more good news for squatters: Squats burn calories and stimulate the cardiovascular system to an exceptional degree. You’ll not only burn calories during the squat, but you’ air max thea ll also likely burn more calories in the 24 hours following your squats because of the intensity and heavy nature of the exercise (2).
Squatting even has an extra bonus, especially for women: the potential to increase the bone density of the spine, hips and legs, which may help prevent osteoporosis. Numerous studies have shown that weight bearing physical activity like resistance training has a positive effect on bone mineral density by mechanically loading the skeleton (3). Bones that are strong can handle more stress and are less likely to fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation’s Physician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis recommends regular weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise both for osteoporosis prevention and overall health (4). You may not be worried about osteoporosis yet, but now’s a great time to start work on preventing it.
Finally, squats can help you develop some awesome curves in some awesome places. Though we don’t consider that a reason in itself to include this exercise in your routine, it sure doesn’t hurt.
Aren’t Squats Dangerous?
One myth that still prevails today is that squatting hurts yo air max thea ur knees air max thea and puts too much pressure on your lower back. These statements are quite ironic it’s actually more dangerous not to squat than it is to squat, as long as you know the proper mechanics and use good form at all times. If you fail to exercise your quads and hamstrings, in fact, you’re much more likely to incur injury during day to day activities.
Squats are the best choice for a leg exercise that minimizes joint compression forces, which helps to keep you injury free. Compared to the leg extension, commonly considered to be a safe exercise, squatting allows the patellofemoral (kneecap and thigh bone) forces to be more evenly distributed and dissipated (5). To date, we’ve seen no evidence that squats can contribute to injuries in women that relate specifically to their different bone structure.
Of course, as with any exercise or activity, you can hurt yourself if you aren’t careful. If you drop down into a squat too quickly and bounce out of the bottom position, the knee cartilage can be squeeze air max thea d and twisted, resulting in wear and tear and eventual breakdown. With good form and a gradual increase in intensity, however, squats are one of the safest exercises you’ll ever perform.