Learn Why Squats Are a Must for Any Fitness Goal.
Many bodybuilders and power lifters consider squatting to be the 'king' of all exercises. No other move engages quite the same amount of muscle or is quite so functional. If you aren't squatting, then yo u won't be producing the maximum anabolic response from your training and you won't grow as much as you could be – it's as simple as that.
Meanwhile, for women who are more interested in getting a model-like body, squats are still the king. Women who squat have the best posteriors in the world and there is no shortage of memes across the web to prove this fact.
So matter what your strength and physique goals, squatting is number one.
But despite this fact, a lot of people still aren't doing it. Why? Because they're afraid. If you find yourself in the same boat – afraid of getting it wrong and looking silly, or possibly afraid of injuring yourself – then read on and see how you can go about conquering that fear.
Start With Kettlebells
If you find the idea of walking up to the squat rack intimidating, then a kettlebell should be much less intimidating. What's more, you can train with a kettlebell from the comfort of your own home so you don't need to attempt your first rep with an audience.
There are two exercises you can do with a kettlebell that will help you build up to a squat. The first is the kettlebell swing, which involves swinging a kettlebell between your legs with both hands. This involves squatting and is similar to a squat in terms of the motion you make with your legs.
The next is a goblet squat. Here you hold the kettlebell against your chest and then squat. It's much easier to feel stable doing this and much easier to put the kettlebell down.
Even if you never build up to squatting in a rack, these two moves alone should be sufficient for building a strong posterior chain, toning your buttocks and producing an anabolic response.
Take it Slow
When you do step into the gym to squat, a good place to start is on the Smith Machine. This is a machine that guides you through the movement and that will catch the bar if you drop it. It's not as good at building functional strength as a regular squat though, so you need to graduate eventually.
Another option is to perform squats but with a very light weight – even just the bar. This way you can get your technique right first and then slowly build up by adding more weight.
Having a spotter is also a very good idea.
Quick Form Check
While this article isn't about technique, it can help to run through a checklist before you begin. Quickly then:
- Chin up, head forward
- Body square, hips forward
- Feet facing slightly outward,
- Knees facing slightly outward
- Back completely straight
To get the last (and most important) point right, imagine there is a ruler stick down the back of your t-shirt and then try not to 'bend' the stick. Get this right and you can squat safely and start making real gains!