When it comes to building lean muscle mass and increasing strength, squats are the way to go. Here’s how to make them really work for you.
If there’s one exercise that should feature in almost everyone’s exercise routine it’s the squat. Squats are one of the most potent ways to lift overall fitness, and they are great when it comes to annihilating fat. When you squat you’re firing up the biggest muscles in your body, and working these large muscles helps maximize fat burn. And, it’s not just the lower body that benefits. Squats challenge your core muscles from every angle and build strength and stability – which fuels improvements across all areas of functional training.
Another great thing about squats is variety – weighted front squats, weighted back squats, full squats, half squats, bodyweight squats, drop squats, sumo bench squats… the list goes on. Squats truly are an exercise you will never tire of.
However you want to squat you need to nail your technique. Solid technique is key to maximizing the benefit and avoiding injury.
Here’s how to master the perfect squat:
- Start with your feet outside hip width, brace your abs and lift your chest.
- Bring your elbows forward to create tension in the upper back.
- Drop your hips back and down.
- Your knees will move forward to fire the quads and your butt should stop just above knee height.
Research shows we burn more calories when we squat with lighter weights, but at a faster speed. This is what makes the squats that feature in a BODYPUMP workout so effective. During a BODYPUMP workout you squat to the beat of the music, the tempo changes regularly and you are compelled to go faster for short bursts, which in turn increases calorie expenditure.