Friday, November 1, 2013

Squats: the King of All Exercises

The most aggravating fallacy I hear is "squats are bad for your knees." No, you know what's bad for your knees? Squatting improperly. Sitting is also really bad for your knees, but that's another discussion entirely.

CrossFitter Miranda Oldroyd doing a heavy back squat.
Squats just might be the number one best exercise for you. Why? Well, there are many reasons, but the number one reason being that it is extremely applicable to daily life. Every time we sit down in a chair, go to the bathroom, or pick something up off of the floor, we are doing a variation of a squat. To quote the CrossFit journal:
"Squatting is just one example of a movement that is universally valuable and essential yet rarely taught to any but the most advanced of athletes. This is a tragedy."
Aside from its universal application, a properly executed squat will work every muscle from your abdominals and the erectors in your spine all of the way down to the muscles in your feet. Squats are great for increasing total body strength.

So if you want to get better at any given sport, improve your overall strength, and get legs of steel, squats are the way to go! Here are some other amazing benefits of squats, if you aren't sold already:

  1. Squats help improve hip, glute and hamstring flexibility.
  2. They increase your overall power output (think about how much power is necessary to get out of the bottom of a heavy squat).
    • A recent study showed that squats improved the sprint performance of rugby players
    • Another study suggests that squats increase the height of your vertical jump
  3. They improve core strength

Without squatting, we would not be able to perform simple everyday tasks life requires. It is impossible to sit in our desk chairs without squatting first. We can't avoid doing them, so we might as well embrace them!

  1. Comfort, P., Haigh, A., et al. Are Changes in Maximal squat Strength During Preseason Training Reflected in Changes in Sprint Performance in Rugby League Players? Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.

  2. Matuschek, C., Schmidtbleicher, D. Influence of Squatting Depth on Jumping Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2012. Published Ahead of Print.
  3. Okada, T., Huxel. K., Nesser, T. Relationship Between Core Stability, Functional Movement, and Performance. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. January 2011. 25(1), 252-261.

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