Do you know the benefits of squats? To find out everything you need to know about this basic muscle strengthening exercise, read below!
This article was originally published here.
Are you looking for an effective exercise to strengthen the thighs and buttocks, the main area for fat deposits? Well, you don't need to look any further! This exercise will help sculpt your lower body and prevent fat accumulation in this area: squats. Find out the many benefits of this exercise.
1. WHAT ARE SQUATS?
Squats are a basic muscle strengthening exercise and a fundamental movement, used in all sports.
The principle? Stand upright, feet turned out and shoulder-width apart, and look straight ahead. Then bend your legs, push your buttocks back and lean slightly forward (keep your back straight, shoulders relaxed and heels on the floor). Your thigh and buttock muscles should start to warm up. Contract your abs and glutes and push on your legs to return to the starting position.
Tip: if you have problems with ankle flexibility, you can perform squats with blocks under your heels.
2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SQUATS?
The squat is a great tool for strengthening your lower body!
It mainly targets the thighs and buttocks (quads, abductors and hamstrings). The strong lower limbs that you'll develop as a result of these sessions, will help you perform everyday actions more efficiently and reduce the risk of joint injury.
But that's not all: by working the stabilising muscles, this exercise helps improve your balance and also your mobility.
Furthermore, by exercising, you'll manage to achieve a greater range of movement and be able to squat lower and lower.
Squats are particularly important in sports where explosive strength is required (running, sprinting, tennis etc.) as they directly engage the muscles which are responsible for supporting our weight (lower limbs) and moving the body.
3. SQUATS FOR WEIGHT LOSS: MYTH OR REALITY?
The 30 Day Squat Challenge talks about the slimming effect of squats; however, there are many individuals who wonder if it's possible to lose weight by doing a simple squat exercise. At the risk of disappointing you, the answer is no!
The main aim of the squat exercise is not weight loss. Its main aim is to strengthen and tone the lower part of the body. Of course, repeated squats help burn calories and the toning effect prevents fat accumulating around the thighs and buttocks. In this sense then, it's possible to say that squats can help achieve targeted weight loss.
But there is no secret to losing weight: when it comes to slimming, nothing beats muscle strengthening combined with cardio training! So it's important to focus on treadmill-type activities, elliptical trainers or step machines.
On the one hand, building more muscle will help increase your basic metabolism; in other words, you'll burn more calories when resting and exercising.
On the other hand, cardio training induces lipolysis, that is the "use" of fat as a source of energy.
To succeed, in addition to adopting a healthy, balanced diet, you need to exercise for one hour (ideally, 3 times a week), combining 50% muscle strengthening exercises and 50% cardio training. For enhanced muscle tone, always start by doing squats before a workout session. This helps speed up energy expenditure and therefore burns fat more quickly.
As I'm sure you've realised, the simple squat exercise is not enough to ensure weight loss.
On the other hand, it's excellent for toning and strengthening the lower body.
If your aim is to slim your thighs and buttocks, you need to perform squats in addition to an endurance activity which will help you get rid of the fat deposited in this target area.