CrossFitters need to gain dense muscles to achieve gymnastics skills, lift weights and improve their endurance. Triathletes focus on becoming light and minimize muscle weight to be able to swim, bike and run. Yogis concentrate on getting lean and control their breathing.
Each practice has its own muscle group to reinforce in order to excel. The legs are the one common body area that’s strengthen no matter what sport, age or level of fitness.
The number one leg related exercise is the squat. It’s efficient, easy and works many muscles simultaneously. The quadriceps, hamstrings and calves are the first muscles to benefit from the repetition of the movement. Not only is the squat perfect to gain muscles it also involves a tight core, a straight back and a regular breathing.
The squat increases anabolic hormones. A combination of a testosterone and a HGH (human growth hormones) rise helps the body to recover, heal and restore natural cells.
There’s a good variety of basic squat skills using body weight, here is a snapshot of the most effective ones: Air squats/ jumping squats, goblet squats, pistol squats and pause squats.
Preserving the body by building muscles in the legs helps in the long run when picking up keys from the floor, getting into a car or climbing stairs everyday. It’s a natural movement that anyone can perform. It relieves the back from too much effort, and helps to support the upper body.
Another common misconception about squats is the risk of knee injuries. As long as the body weight is located on the back of the feet and the squat isdeep then the knees will be fine. Technically while in a squat position, the toes should be grounded and the body should be low enough for the hip crease to go below the top of the knee cap.
The key to a healthy squatting life is mobility. The more we sit every day, the more rigid our muscles become.
Before squatting it is recommended to execute a dynamic warm up, to help the muscles to loosen up, get blood flowing and ready for the hustle. After a squat session, a couple of hours after training, the quads and hamstrings like to be stretched and rolled on in serenity. It might hurt, but it’s the necessary path to a relaxed muscle. Happy muscles, happy squats!
This article was published on Soul Rebel Athletics on August 25th 2015