Tuesday, December 16, 2008

QUEEN of All Exercise?

The squat is the Queen of all exercises

Traditionally in bodybuilding they talk of the king-like exercises; the bench press, the deadlift and the squat. These three exercises are given the name king because there is none higher than them. They are the best exercises for strength, power, muscle gain, etc.

And, to take it one step further, the squat would be the king of the kings. Or, perhaps, the Queen!

What muscles does the squat target?

The great thing about the squat is that it works so many muscles. Every muscle in your lower body is worked out and this is why it is so popular an effective. The squat is so good, in fact, that it will even help your upper body make progress as it is so stressful on the body.

Images from Anatomy Atlases

The main muscles that the squat targets are shown in the image above.

How to do a pefect squat

Warm up
The first thing you need to make sure you do is warm up really well. The squat is a heavy exercise and it will shock your legs too much if they are not warmed up well. We have all felt the twinge in the calf muscles or the knee when we don’t warm up and go for a jog so the squat should be no different. To warm up spend at least 10 minutes doing stretches, cardio and some body weight squats to get the blood pumping. This is essential.

The squat technique
The squat technique really isn’t that hard. You simply breathe in as you lower your body down by bending your knees and taking the weight on your quadriceps. When you get to a position where your legs are just above being parallel with the ground you should pause for a brief moment and then push up with an out breath. Try not to spend too long at the top or bottom of the motion. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart and your toes should be just pointing outwards.

Inbetween sets
Inbetween each set of squats you should keep active; move around, stretch your legs and keep the blood flowing. It is not a good idea to let your legs cool down at all when doing such an exercise.

Problems with the knees

Many women say that the squat hurts their knees. If this is so then you should not try to do them. There are plenty of other less stressful exercises out there that can bring excellent results as well.

There are also many experts out there who claim that the squat is bad for the knee joints. However, these experts seem to be on the losing team as the majority of people involved in health and fitness including athletes, doctors, etc. seem to hold the squat in very high regard when it is done correctly.

How to fix the knee problem?
If you want to make sure the squat doesn’t hurt your knees there are a few things you can do. Firstly, it is said that the problem comes about when the ankles aren’t flexible enough and the other joints above them start to compensate by bending incorrectly. This is the main cause for squat related back injuries. To avoid this you can widen your stance a little bit so that the pressure is shifted to different areas.

Another thing that some experts have talked about is the position of the knees in relation to the feet. When you do your squats can you see your toes infront of your knees? If so then perhaps you are looking at some problems. Many of the expert bodybuilders say that it is better to squat down so that your knees come forward over your feet which allows you to keep your back straighter.

Never squat below parallel if you think you might be open to a knee injury.


The squat really is the Queen of all exercises. It will help you achieve toned legs faster than any other legs exercise as well as boosting your overall strength and power. Make sure you respect the squat though, keep your technique perfect and you should be able to avoid all injuries.



ABC_tarik said...

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