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Six different ways to squat for total-body strength

Six different ways to squat for total-body strength

Squats are one of the best workouts for gaining strength and size while also burning fat, whether you love them or loathe them. It makes sense why they're frequently referred to be the best strength-training activity. However, some exercise enthusiasts choose less glamourous exercises like the bench press and bicep curl in instead of squats. No longer! Leg day cannot be skipped by buddies. And because we're all pals here, we've each contributed by putting together a list of six squat variations for different levels of fitness. You only need to be cool and squat down.

Standing Science

Want to put on some muscle and run more quickly and jump higher? So it's time to start feeling low. Squats create a significant hormonal reaction and have a profound effect on the central nervous system since they use practically all of the muscles from head to toe. According to Dr. Jeff Volek, strength coach and associate professor of kinesiology at the University of Connecticut, this fosters an anabolic environment that positions the muscles throughout the body for growth.

Squats, especially deep squats, have a reputation for being deadly, so it's unclear how low you should squat. Rock bottom is the way to go when it comes to performing the complicated movement, provided you're injury-free and employing good technique (see below). According to research, the depth of a squat does not actually increase knee stress. In fact, a different study makes the case that the deep squat may enhance knee stability. It's also true that performing a half squat while carrying a lighter burden increases strength more effectively than going lower while carrying a heavier load. Remember that all of this "how low can you go" discussion presume that you can master the fundamentals.

Basic Instruction

Sloppy squats have no place in any kind of fitness program. In order to start, novice squatters should use the bodyweight variety.

Exercise: Bodyweight Squat

How to: Stand with your feet hip- or shoulder-width apart (the exact position will depend on flexibility). Now, squeeze the shoulder blades together while rolling the shoulders back and down. Knees should be slightly bent while maintaining a high chest and a tight core. If you choose, you can position your hands behind your head, on your hips, crossed in front of your chest, or out in front of your body (a).Next, lean back into your heels while keeping your knees from crossing your toes by moving your hips and butt back and down (b). Your shoulders and chest don't sag when your butt sinks. When you reach the bottom of the squat, press through your heels, let out a breath, and stand back up (c).

Keep in mind that practice makes perfect. Before adding weight or completing more difficult exercise variations, make sure you can perform the bodyweight squat with perfect form. If going low is challenging, you probably have some mobility limitations preventing you from performing the squat. These weaknesses can be remedied by using a dynamic warm-up and mobility exercises like foam rolling. It's time to step it up by adding weights and tackling more difficult variations after the bodyweight exercise becomes automatic.

Six Complex Squat Variations

There are several techniques to improve your squat technique when the time comes. As a starting point, use the exercises on this list to help you lose weight and move more of it. Remember that these variants aren't intended to be finished in a single workout. Consider it a checklist. Before moving on to the next move, start at the top of the list and gradually master each one.

1. Squat Hold Isolated

It's time to get into a cozy squatting position. The rationale is that maintaining a squat while lowering into it increases stability and strength while reducing the risk of injury.

How to: Similar to a bodyweight squat during the setup and descent, this technique begins to differ once we reach the bottom. Sink into that squat and hold it rather than standing up again (a). Keep your entire weight on your heels and drive your knees and hips wide (b). Make careful to keep your shoulders back and down, chest up, and core engaged as you maintain an upright body stance. 4 sets of 4 reps each, with a 30-second break at the end of each rep.

Jump Squat 2.

Are you prepared to go off? It has been demonstrated that strength-building regimens that use plyometric exercises like the jump squat are more successful than those that only use weight lifting.

How to: Start off in a simple bodyweight squat position (can you see a pattern here?). and perform the squat's first phase until we reach our lowest point (a). Observe how your hamstrings and glutes will contract and contract when you have your hips back and your butt down. Drive your hips forward and raise your arms to the heavens as you jump off the ground to let go of that tension (b). Before beginning the following repeat, softly touch the ground once more and immediately crouch down again (c). 4. Sets. 12. Reps.

Three. Goblet Squat

We'll now squat while adding weight. A reliable approach to increase strength and decrease squat depth is the goblet squat. This is due to the fact that it improves squat technique and targets all of the lower body muscles without the additional strain of a barbell.

How to: Before beginning a squat, grab a dumbbell, kettlebell, medicine ball, or sandbell. Hold the object in your hands and at chest level (a). The next step is to spread your feet shoulder-width apart and contract your upper body. While squatting, hold that weight close to your chest.The position at the bottom of the squat ought to mirror the isolate squat hold (b). Drive through the heels to stand back up, then tighten your hamstrings, glutes, and core (c). By smashing your knees to straighten your legs so you can stand up, you can prevent pushing your hips forward. 4. Sets. 12. Reps.

Four. Back Squat

Things might then become intriguing at this point. Even though you're still squatting, you now have to deal with a barbell on your back. For this exercise, you'll also need a power rack or squat rack. It makes it simple to enter and exit the space beneath the bar. Additionally, it contains safety bars to catch you if you fall while squatting.

How to: Set the bar's height so that it is slightly below shoulder level to begin. Step under the bar and hold the handle wider than shoulder-width so the weight is on your upper back (a). Set up in the same squat stance you've used for each exercise so far, but this time sit back and down and maintain your chest up (b). When you've reached your lowest point, exhale, drive into your heels, tuck your elbows in close to your body, and stand up again (c). Reps: 10; Sets: 4.

Front Squat No. 5

In the front squat, you lay the bar over your collarbone in front of your torso rather than on your upper back. Similar to the back squat, it may take some practice to become accustomed to where the bar should be placed, but with persistence, it will become second nature.

How to: After settling into the squat rack, bring your chest up toward the bar while maintaining a shoulder-width grip on the bar. Pull the bar against your collarbone while driving your elbows up. Note: Let the bar rest on you to support the weight rather than trying to hold it against your body (a). Once you're ready, lower into a squat while maintaining an active upper body and forcing your elbows high (b). To complete the movement, drive your elbows up while exhaling and pressing through your heels (c). Reps: 10; Sets: 4.

6. Head-Up Squat

Make a time commitment to learning and perfecting the other variants that got you here before you attempt an overhead squat. The overhead squat could be more detrimental than beneficial unless you're performing the other exercises expertly. But if you've worked up to this activity, you're in for a seriously full-body workout.

How to: Press the bar aloft while holding it in a wider-than-shoulder-width grip. With your arms extended, the bar will be six to eight inches overhead depending on the width of your grasp. Your feet can be a little bit wider than hip-width apart for this movement than for the other squat variations. The squat's execution, though, is still intact (a). Set up for the squat by starting to sit back and down while pushing through the bar (b). As you stabilize your body at the bottom of the squat, keep forcing your arms up (c). Drive the hips forward and knees open to stand back up from the squat while maintaining a tall posture and an engaged core (d). Reps: 10; Sets: 4.