Once you agree to sign up for a workout program characterized by vigorous training, you should prepare yourself for everything you’ll experience. One of the exercises most new gym goers fear is squats. As a set of strength exercises, squats are essential for developing core strength and increasing the size and strength of your lower body muscles.
Each squatting session will help train the muscles of your hips, buttocks and thighs while strengthening the ligaments, tendon insertions and bones of the lower body. Knowing how to do squats the right way will help you derive these benefits without being at risk of lower body injury. Find more information on how much squats you should do below.
How to Properly Do Squats
Your squatting sessions should always find you in a standing position. Though a loaded barbell is the most common weight used for swjats, kettlebells and dumbbells can also do the magic. When you use a barbell, brace it across your upper trapezius muscle to do a high bar squat. You can do a low bar squat by lowering the barbell across your rear deltoids and holding that squatting position.
Getting to a high bar or low bar squatting position isn’t enough to train your lower body muscles. You’ll need to move your hips back and bend your knees and hips to lower your torso and the weight you’re carrying. After bending your knees, return to your upright position and then repeat the exercise.
How Many Squats Should You Do?
You can do squats in varying depths depending on your fitness level and goals. Aim for ten to fifteen squats per day twice or thrice a week. The competition standard for doing this exercise is referred to as parallel depth. You have to ensure the top part of your leg (at the hip joint) falls below your knee for you to meet this standard.
Other standards you can observe when doing squats involve the top of your upper thigh being below the top of your knee, your femur being parallel to the floor and your hip joint being below the knee. Squatting above parallel depth qualifies as a shallow squat while squatting below parallel depth qualifies as a deep squat. Authorities caution gym goers against doing deep squats since they have a higher potential for injury and lifelong physical disabilities.
Dangers of Overdoing Squats
When squatting, your knees and hips will bend, your ankle will extend while the muscles around your joint will contract until they reach a point they can’t undergo further contraction. Throughout the exercise, you’ll be relying on the muscles around your hips to power your lower body. Common mistakes people make when squatting include flexing their torso too far forward bending too rapidly. Such mistakes could lead to injury or inability to complete the squat.
You’re at a higher risk of suffering spinal disc herniation when you flex your torso since the exercise will exert a lot of force on your lower back. Failing to align the knees in the direction of your toes will adversely strain the knee joints increasing the risk of an injury. Another mistake people make while squatting is raising their heels off the ground. Such a mistake prevents the gluteus muscles from contributing to the entire exercise thus making it difficult to complete the squat.
Squats tend to be a complex set of exercises for most beginners at gyms or fitness centers. It’s important to seek guidance from a trainer before carrying them out to put yourself at lesser risk of injury. If you’re a good learner, it will take a few sessions for you to master the routines and variations allowing you to train your lower body as you wish. While theoretical knowledge on squats is essential when getting started with these workouts, it’s advisable to spare time to put the knowledge into practice to improve your mastery.