What are Squats?
Squat exercises mean going into a squatting position like you want to sit down. In short, this is all you need to know about squats. You sit down and up – repeatedly and many times. You start out in an upright position, with your feet about shoulder-width apart. You then move into a squatting position while holding your upper body upright, looking straight ahead, keeping your weight on your heels, and without your knees extending beyond your toes. The center of gravity is thereby shifted behind to the rear. Many might remember squats as knee bends for warm-ups during their physical education classes. They are, however, much more than just a warm-up exercise!
What muscles are being used during Squats?
Squats are well known as an exercise to firm the gluteal muscles. With good reason! There is hardly any other exercise your glutes have so hard to work. The main force is coming from the buttock muscles. Depending on the version of the exercise you choose, the front or back side of the thigh is being strained more. Specifically, you are using the quadriceps located on the front of the thigh, the rear leg curl, and the associated hip muscles, all three gluteal muscles and the two calf muscles. But did you know that squats are also beneficial to your core muscles, i.e. the belly and lower back? Extensor muscles as well as lateral and straight abdominal muscles stabilize the movement and are being worked with each squat. This is especially important when you consider that coordination, stability and power transfer to the entire musculature from the middle of the body.
Squats - burning fat and making muscles all in one!
Many people underestimate the benefits of leg exercise because muscular development of the lower half is not appealing to them, either as a training goal or aesthetic focus.Whether you want to build muscles or burn fat: squats are essential! Our buttock and thigh muscles constitute a very large part of our total volume of muscles. For the utilization of fat, this means that exercising this part of the body uses considerable energy. For muscle building, strengthening this group of muscles implies an increased secretion of growth hormones, which in turn is conducive to overall muscle building.
Are Squats harmful to your knees?
There is a widespread rumor that squats are bad for your knee joints. There are countless studies that refute these claims and many that support this thesis. The argument is often made that the knee, by its very structure, is not suited for the typical movement of the joint. At Freeletics, we take a very clear stand on this: in our daily lives we constantly and frequently strain the knee joint, be it only lightly or tentatively, laterally offset, with straight or bent torso. Squatting without weight is part of the basic movements of human motor activity. Joints need to be exercised to become stronger and thus being protected from injury. Only in this way will they produce more joint fluid and optimize their circulation. And let’s not forget that the most important factor for the stability of a joint is the surrounding musculature. Pay attention to the amount of squatting or knee strain you apply on a daily basis just in your basic movement and resting.
Squats - technique is decisive!
As with any other exercise, the technique is crucial! Although compared to other Freeletics exercises like Climbers or Kipping Handstand Pushups, squatting exercises are less complex, hardly any other exercise is done wrong so often, and this may indeed lead to serious injury of the knee joints. Those who have knee problems – be it before, during your workout, or since you have started with Freeletics – should examine their technique and talk to a doctor.