My second favourite compound exercise (next to Deadlifts). The Squat is another great exercise to cover all the bases. Whether you are training for speed, endurance, hypertrophy, strength or just for athletic purposes, The Squat is essential to employ in your routine.
Here are just a few things you are missing out on if you aren’t training Squats:
Let’s take a closer look:
Increasing your athletic performance!
The Front squat is great for putting more emphasis on the quads, erector spinae and the rectus abdominis, which can cross over when doing high sprints and jumping. It’s also strict on form in terms of stopping you from leaning too far forwards and throwing the hips back (as you will drop the bar!) The Front squat is also knee friendly compared to the Back squat.
Run faster over Short/Long distances
Whilst running you engage the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves to produce more force from the ground. Using heavy loads in Squats will engage these muscles and push them past their comfort zones; this will increase strength musculature and core.
A recent study that used eight rugby players on a maximal strength program found the players showed a significant increase in speed and sport specific movements. They employed the following exercises: Back squats; Clean pulls, Deadlifts and Nordic curls, working at 85-90 percent of their 1 RM. Results showed an increase in their maximal Squat by 30kg which transferred to their sprint speed by 6-7.6 % over 5/10/20 meters.
This exercise is not only for the lifters out there but for the long distance runners and sprinters who could generate more power and force through the floor.
Body functionality/mobility and faster walking speed
Suffer from lower back pain? This is an exercise for you! A recent study performed on elderly people suffering from osteoarthritis showed that Squat training resulted in less self-reported pain in the knees, back, better balance and faster walking speed. They also had less evidence of chronic inflammation that is associated with arthritis.
Having a stronger lower body and core will help all populations to move functionally and generally help them experience less pain or suffer an injury.
Increased core and hoop tension (Abs of steel)
Other exercises that will get the abs popping include the notorious Deadlift and Pull-ups! (I can hear my clients groaning now…)
Jump to greater heights!
A study was initiated where a group of people only did quarter range Squats while another group did full range Squats. They found over 10 weeks that the group that completed the full range Squats improved their jumping height by 5-8% whereas the group that only did partial Squats only increased their height by 2.6%
So when it comes to training Squats always try aim for a full range of movement rather than leaning towards heavier weights. You will be recruiting more muscle fibres and I guarantee you will find it just as hard.
Not to say partial ranges shouldn’t be used however, if you are looking to get past a plateau in your strength training Partials can be a great boost to your performance…