Squatting is one of the lifts that people either love or hate. If you love squatting keep on keeping on and continue to reap the benefits of working out your entire body. If you hate squats, keep reading. There are tons of excuses for why people don’t want to squat in the gym, but at the end of the day, you need to get in the rack and squat.
People make excuses for not squatting all the time, and frankly, most of them are BS. One common excuse is that squatting is bad for your knees and back. This is false. Squats done with incorrect form are bad for your knees and back. Squatting with the correct form will not lead to knee or back pain only bigger and stronger muscles.
Leg soreness is another common excuse. A lot of people will not squat simply because their legs are sore afterward, and they don’t want to deal with the pain. You know what, everyone’s muscles are sore after squatting. On top of that, muscles in other parts of your body are sore after working out them out too. There are ways to handle soreness, and there are even some preventative steps that can help reduce soreness the day after you squat.
The final excuse we’ll cover is that some people don’t want their legs to be too big. There’s a common misconception that your thighs will explode in size if you squat regularly. Your legs aren’t going to be as big as tree trunks after a few months of squatting regularly.
Benefits of Squatting
Squatting provides your body with benefits that can’t be replicated by other lifts. First and foremost is the strength that squats build in your legs. Squatting works out multiple parts in your legs including thighs, hips, buttocks, hamstrings, and quadriceps. Building strength in these muscles, like your hamstrings and quads, can help you avoid injuries. In addition to your hamstrings and quads becoming stronger, ligaments in your knee are also stronger, meaning tears in ligaments like your MCL, ACL, or PCL become less likely.
In addition to strength and injury prevention, another benefit of squatting is you won’t look ridiculous with chicken legs. You know those guys who have the big upper body and the tiny chicken legs. You don’t want to be that guy. Hit the squat rack, so your body is proportionate.
Proper Way to Squat
You’ll hear a million different ways to squat and the proper technique and tips, but at the core, they all remain the same.
On different sites and forums, the proper depth for squatting will vary, but there is at least one consensus – at least hit 90 degrees. When you fail to reach 90 degrees, you’re not only cheating yourself but putting yourself at a higher risk of injury. Squatting to parallel puts the posterior chain in your body into play. This creates a balancing force and takes pressure off your tendons. Hitting at least 90 degrees is the bare minimum. If that’s all you can do, great, but try to break to parallel. Going slightly past parallel gives your legs just that little extra. Plus if you’re into powerlifting, past parallel is a requirement.
Your upper body is also important. Your chest should be up and your shoulders back. If your chest falls in or down, you’ll create a “turtle shell,” and that can really mess up your back. Also, it will put even more strain on your legs which can also be bad.
Knees, Heels, and Feet
When you line up to squat your feet should be just outside of shoulder width. Keep your heels on the ground throughout the entirety of the lift. And finally, don’t let your knees buckle in, or shootout wider than your shoulders. Failing to do any of these properly can result in an injury.
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