Fitness Friday: Squat. It does a booty good.

I think a lot of people have a love/hate relationship with squats.  They're not exactly fun to do but they're an incredible exercise that can give you amazing looking legs!

Squats recruit most of your muscle fibers and burn a ton of calories even after you're done working out.  They are an exercise you can do in the gym using a squat rack and barbell or in your living room holding a pair of dumbbells.  There are many variations of the squat but you don't need to get all fancy, especially at first.  If you've never done them before, it's a good idea to find someone who knows how to properly perform one (like a personal trainer!) who can show you good form, then watch and correct as you practice.  Never, ever done a squat before?  Sit down in a chair.  Now stand up.  That's sort of what it should feel like.

And don't buy into the whole mini-squat, knees should not even come within an inch of your toes businessLearn to do a full squat.  Get low.

Benefits to Squatting?  Read on!

*Your core will become stronger from squatting as you support the bar on your shoulders.  6 pack anyone?

*Defined legs.  Strong low back. 

*Improved stability around the joints of the lower body.  Believe it or not, squatting can actually improve the health of your knee and hip joints.  While squatting may be contraindicated for certain populations, the benefits are vast for healthy people.  With proper form, the muscles surrounding the knee joint will strengthen and protect.

Here is a great article on FULL SQUATTING like I talked about above.  Progression comes pretty quickly with squats also.  It is fairly easy to move up in weight every time you do them but be sure and give yourself a day of rest in between workouts.

Right now I'm doing squats 3 times a week: back squats twice and front squats once.  Here are excellent videos on how to set up either movement!  Yesterday I did back squats and here was my progression.  I know, it's not much at all but I am just now getting back into it.
  • 6 x bar (45 lbs.) - warm up
  • 5 x 55 lbs.
  • 5 x 65
  • 5 x 70
  • 5 x 70
  • 5 x 70
I was actually feeling happy and proud to hit 70 lbs. yesterday when miss soccer player showed up and starting throwing multiple 25's onto her barbell.  She was so strong!  It inspired me though...I'll get there.  My first goal is to be able to squat my body weight.

I took information from this site for today's Fitness Friday.  Go forth and squat!