My clients have asked me what the benefits of doing squats are. My reply was that squats are known as an important weight training exercise because it works not only just your legs, but your whole body.
Firstly, I teach my clients the safety of doing squats. I take note of my client’s ability and training goals before suggesting the depth of a squat. For example, if a client has a previous injury to the knee or lacks the muscle strength for knee stabilization, I would advise them to perform deep squats cautiously as they are more likely to get injured doing it or causes past injury to crop up.
Another precaution would be to slowly increase the knee flexion depth to safely match the weight loads to prevent a knee injury as well as to set a time period of nothing longer than 5-7 minutes of full flexion. I would advise my clients to do squats at the power rack as the safety pins are able to catch the bar if anything were to go wrong or if I am not there to supervise them. The rest would be technique.
Earlier studies have shown a link that squatting leads to an increase in knee stability as squatting stretches the knee ligaments and therefore decreases stability. However, a research done by Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found out two different findings. While one state that squats does nothing to increase knee instability, the other disagrees. Other than these findings, they found out that knee stability can be affected by ligament flexibility.
Clients who have larger posterior leg muscles (calf and hamstrings) face a greater risk of injury as deep squats places greater stress on the connective tissues of the knee joints.
Squats have been known to generate about twice as much hamstring activity as the knee extensions and leg press, as said by a recent study by the American Sports Medicine Institute in Brimingham. It added on by stating squatting is extremely safe and improves the strength and knee stability. It stimulates and thus increases the strength of the hamstrings as when one squat, the hamstrings control the hip flexion. A study was done with a group of subjects to perform deep squats over an eight-week period. Over the period, there was no increased instability created and thus does not affect knee stability.
Proper Way of Squatting
- Descend in a controlled manner
- Used the approximate shoulder-width foot stance
- Exhale after ascending
- Keep your feet flat on the floor
- Maintain the proper form while exercising
- Chest stays high, face keeps forward
Below is a video on how to do a deep squat perfectly. It is not something new but when done properly, it does a lot of good to your thighs as well as your whole body.
With Weights (From Livestrong)[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYQWVdPgQl0[/youtube]
Bodyweight (From our Group Training video – a mixture of half and full squats done by our beloved clients, friends and participants of Lose to Win 1 during our bootcamp)
Sidetrack – I usually modify my clients workout according to their abilities – for Tabata Protocol, it’s usually 2:1 with 8 cycles. For this particular progressive workout, we did 6 cycles. Loads of fun during this ‘party’.
Check out my sidekick and our Chief Trainer – Zhywee’s form and speed at 0:59 to 1:09[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neMGU74ErA8[/youtube]
Progressive workouts at steady pace – key to success. If you’d like to workout in a group, you may want to check the Multi Level Fitness Bootcamp Outdoor classes that my Chief Trainers are conducting at http://fitnessbootcamp.sg. For one on one personal training instructions, we’re here