Squat mastery is an important strength and longevity tool. As we age we lose our flexibility and mobility creating a cascading effect of physical decline in our lives. By squatting everyday using proper squat form a beginner trainee can reverse the effects of this natural decline by building muscle mass for overall strength and power. There are many benefits to incorporating squats into a daily training effort. Use the jumplinks below for my top 5 Health Benefits of Doing Squats Everyday and squat instruction:.
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1. Create a More Functional Body for Everyday Life
The squat strengthens the coordination of both the upper and lower body in one exercise. Getting stronger at this key functional exercise aids the trainee in being able to better perform everyday activities. When the overall guidewire system is improved it combats the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle which contribute to poor posture, chronic fatigue, increased blood pressure, weight gain and a slower metabolism.
2. Amp the Body's Fat Burning Ability
By building functional muscle the body increases mitochondrial density. The mitochondria are tiny cellular blast furnaces. Increasing mitochondrial density amps up the metabolism. Every extra pound of muscle gained will burn an additional 50-70 calories. If you gain 10 pounds of muscle, then your metabolism will burn an additional 500-700 calories per day. That additional muscle will also help in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism as well insulin sensitivity protecting against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This aids in toning and tightening your body from your abs to your butt to your legs.
3. Improve Mobility and Balance
A properly performed squat not only strengthens the legs it strengthens the muscle slings of the core that are critical to maintaining an upright posture and good balance. Hip and ankle mobility are also improved when using a full range of motion. Sitting for extended periods of time contributes to a degradation of overall posture and functionality. The result is a head forward position and deactivated hip flexors. For more information on Forward Head Posture see Dr. Erik Dalton's site. Lastly there is an improved cognitive awareness of the body overall.
4. Prevent Injuries
Performing a squat over a full range-of-motion with a slow controlled speed allows the trainee to eliminate gaps of weakness. This technique strengthens the ligaments and tendons making muscle insertion points far more resistant to tearing. This can dramatically reduce the chance of injury in everyday life.
5. Boost Sports Performance
Squats are the “King” of all progressive resistance exercises. When performed correctly with the requisite amount of intensity this one exercise gives a trainee great gains in strength overall. There are five bio-motor attributes that aid in better sports performance – strength, speed, endurance, agility and flexibility. Speed and agility are directly improved when strength capacities are increased.
How to Do Squats Properly
Proper squat form is essential for reaping the immense benefits from this one compound multi-joint movement. A baby intuitively understands how to squat perfectly.
The technical premise is to make squatting “all about legs.” Learn how to do a technically perfect ultra-deep bodyweight squat first then work through the subsequent variations of goblet squat, front squat and high bar/low bar barbell squat.
Below are the key technical points that apply to all squat variations and instructive video.
When learning to squat it is important to first learn how to perform a technically correct ultra-deep no weight squat. Life causes us to lose this innate ability; our strategy is to "relearn" and recapture lost "primordial wisdom." The goal is to perform full ROM bodyweight squats using pristine technique.
Crawl before you walk and walk before you run – how can anyone be expected to perform a perfect barbell squat if they are unable to perform a perfect squat with bodyweight alone? Check out the picture above and note knees over ankles, vertical shins, upright torso; pelvis is tucked under. This is our core technique, our foundational position for all subsequent squats. Using a support is a great way to start squatting and accomplish the key technical points stated above. See the video below of proper squat form using the CrossCore suspension trainer.
See 74 year old Dawn squatting using a suspension trainer called CrossCore using pristine form. This suspension trainer is superior to others on the market because of its patented pulley pin engagement system. When the pin is removed a greater level of instability is created, forcing the body into dynamic stabilization.
Dynamic stabilization occurs when abdominals, spinal extensors and gluteal muscles work in coordination with each other and intra-abdominal pressure is regulated by the central nervous system.
After mastering the bodyweight squat the challenge becomes – how do we increase the squat payload while retaining the optimal squat technique we worked so hard to attain in our bodyweight squatting? A kettlebell or dumbbell can be held under the chin, or a barbell plate clutched to the chest to create additional squat payload. With the introduction of these payload-enhancing tools, great care needs to be taken to not allow the archetypical squat technique (ingrained in no-weight squats) to be corrupted, degraded or compromised. A technique we use to make this transition is to push the implement out in front of the body while lowering. Eventually the low position becomes more comfortable and the trainee can hold the implement close to the body. Goblet squatting allows us to dramatically increase squat resistance by grasping these external payloads.
Take 15 minutes to incorporate squats into your daily routine. I recommend starting off with 2 sets of 10-12 reps daily to ingrain a new neuromuscular pathway. As your strength and mobility improve vitality increases. My clients find that tasks that seemed overwhelming or unattainable all of a sudden become easier to perform. The body finds a new synergy that allows it to overcome and improve overall movement.
Take your squat and your training to the next level!
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