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What the squat?!
Exercise & Fitness
Jessica Biel loves them, Kim Kardashian swears by them, and they have an ever-increasing social media presence – but what’s really BEHIND the squat?
“Squats are a compound exercise that work your entire body, and are crucial for gaining all-over strength and muscular tone,” says Real Health and Fitness personal trainer, Dan Tarlington.
Squats primarily engage your glutes, quads and hamstrings, but they also incorporate abs, obliques and your back.
“A single squat involves enough muscles to trigger the release of hormones, which in turn increases your metabolism for up to 24 hours,” says Tarlington.
Squats also require a longer recovery time, meaning that while your muscles repair from the exertion, your body becomes a calorie-burning machine.
“Squats are increasingly popular, especially among my female clients, however when squatting it’s easy to sustain an injury without proper form,” says Tarlington.
Kim Kardashian credits her famous behind with squats saying, "It's a little bit bigger so you do have to work out more. I do squats and lunges. I try to do whatever I can to work out."
1. TO SQUAT WITH A SAFE AND CONTROLLED MOVEMENT, FIRST CHOOSE A WEIGHT THAT FEELS COMFORTABLE ACROSS YOUR BACK.
“It’s best to start squatting with a lower weight at increased repetition, rather than straining under a weight that is too heavy,” says Tarlington.
Proper form is key to performing a squat safely and beneficially.
2. CENTER THE WEIGHT BAR ACROSS YOUR BACK, USING A MEDIUM GRIP.
“Weight should be distributed evenly across your trapeziums, while your feet are a little more than shoulder-width apart.”
If your beginning stance doesn't feel comfortable, ask a fellow gym-goer to spot you.
3. SLOWLY STEP OUT OF THE SQUAT RACK, TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND YOU’RE READY TO SQUAT!
“Gently push your hips back and down, while keeping your knees tracking directly over your feet.”
Don’t be afraid to pop that booty either – remember, if Jessie J can do it, then so can you!
"Squats pre show lol," Tweets Jessie J, who also participates in the 30 Day Squat Challenge with Lauren Pope! Squats can be performed with or without a weights bar.
4. GET DOWN, DEEPER AND DOWN!
“Squat until your hips are no longer parallel with your knees, and then hold your breath for one count at the base of the squat,” says Tarlington.
5. DRIVE BACK UP, POWERING THE SQUAT FROM THE SOLES OF YOUR FEET AND THROUGH YOUR HIPS.
“You should finish with straight legs, your chest up and out, and a strong back,” says Tarlington.
Always keep your head forward during the squat motion, too.
“Be careful to take breaks during each set of repetitions, start with five and work your way up.”
Celebrities like Lauren Pope even try a 30 day squat challenge, so why not use that as some fitspiration?
“I recommend incorporating squats into your fitness regime twice a week,” says Tarlington; with the benefits usually becoming obvious in four to eight weeks of consistent training.
“The best way to judge whether your squats are paying off, is to get back into your regular jeans,” says Tarlington.
Jessica Biel has a simple method for fitting comfortably into her jeans, "I practice Yoga on a regular basis and do more one legged squats."
If your glutes feel firmer and more taut, then the squat is definitely what’s hot!
“Your abdominal muscles act as stabilizers during a squat, so a tighter abdomen and increased core strength is just another benefit,” says Tarlington.
Your legs will also become toned from squatting, while your knee joints and lower back will feel stronger and more capable.
“It’s important to remember that every body type is different though, and people will develop muscle definition at their own pace,” says Tarlington.
Either way, sounds like it’s time to drop it like a squat!
#Exercise & Fitness
IMAGES: Wikimedia Commons, Instagram
SPECIAL THANKS to Dan Tarlington at www.realhealthandfit.com
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Kim Kardashian should swear by butt implants, not squats. Squats do not result in "bubble butts".
Sorry Jessica, that's not very helpful. Great article. :)
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