Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Why Squats are the "King of All Exercises"

Have you ever thought about adding squats to your workout? If you have, chances are you’ve been conflicted by the reports on whether or not they’re good for you.  There are many reasons why you should include them, but there are also a few drawbacks.

The biggest drawback is the concern over what it does to one’s knees. It’s been a long-held notion that the exercise may lead to early wear and tear on these joints. In addition, some people connect it to neck and back pain.

In some instances, it’s true that squatting may lead to pain and injury. However, recent studies suggest that this is just a myth. The problem is not the exercise, but improper form. It can actually improve knee stability when done correctly. So, it can be demanding and it takes a bit of time to master the technique, but the benefits are definitely worth it!

Here are some of the top reasons to add squats to your routine:

1.     Get a Total Lower Body Workout – It’s one of the most effective ways to tone and strengthen your lower body. It’s a surefire way to give your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, and glutes a powerful workout.    
2.     Gain Overall Muscle Growth – Squats aren’t just great for toning your lower half, they also create an anabolic environment. What does that mean?  It results in a release of hormones that help promote muscle growth across your entire body, not just the specific area being targeted. This will maximize the benefits you receive from other exercises and cause improvements in your upper body strength, as well.
3.     Burn More Fat – Gaining more muscle translates into burning more calories. The additional muscle you’ll gain from it will help you quickly burn fat. 
4.     Build Functional Strength - The squat is a natural movement performed in a variety of daily activities associated with bending and lifting. It helps you increase your strength, improve your balance, and gain flexibility. All these things will make your everyday activities become easier, which is crucial as we age. 
5.     Get Better Sports Performance – Whether you’re into sports or just an on-the-go person with an active lifestyle, you’ll see improvements in your athletic ability, including running faster and jumping higher.
6.     Strengthen the Core – Squats also engage the abdominals and back muscles as they assist in maintaining balance during the exercise. This leads to a stronger back and tighter abs.
7.     Prevent Injury – If performed correctly, the likelihood of any injuries will decrease due to the fact that it strengthens the muscles and connective tissues surrounding the knees.

With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why they call squats “The King of All Exercises!” If you’ve hit a plateau, you’re looking for faster results, or you’d like to build muscle and strength, then this is something you’ll want to consider trying. You can start without using weight, and then progress with it as you get a handle on the technique.  Just remember to put in the extra effort to do it right!

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