Squat for perfect legs and butt

The Squat is a compound, full body exercise. You Squat by bending through your hips and knees, with the weight on your upper-back, until your hips come lower than your knees (“breaking parallel“).

Most people think of Squats as a “leg exercise”. Your hamstrings, quads, glutes and groin are indeed the prime movers when you Squat.

But your abs, obliques and lower back muscles work to keep you from collapsing under the bar. Even your arms and shoulders must work to keep the bar in position. This is why many people call Squats “king of all exercises” – Squatting works your whole body from head to toe.

This makes the Squat a crucial exercise for gaining overall strength and muscle. It’s the secret to the effectiveness of StrongLifts 5×5, and why you’re Squatting 3x/week on that program. Contrary to popular belief, Squats aren’t bad for your knees and lower back. Squats with bad form are.
If you Squat with proper form, you’ll strengthen the muscles surrounding your knees and lower back.

This will make your knees and lower back stronger and healthier, not weak and injured. The Squat is one of the three lifts in the sport of powerlifting, together with the Bench Press and Deadlift. The current IPF raw world record Squat is 412.5kg/909lb set by Ray Williams (USA).
Read more: http://stronglifts.com/squat/


Introduction History of Squats The Squat is a natural movement humans have done since they existed.
If you pay attention you’ll notice people all over the world Squat, often unconsciously. Quick examples… Babies routinely play while sitting in a Squat position, and will Squat to stand up.1 Asian people often rest in a Squatting position when eating or waiting for the bus.

2 Squatting was the natural way to defecate before sitting toilets existed Indian Wrestlers have used unweighted Squats (“Baithak”) for hundreds of years to get stronger.3 The “Great” Gama became a World Champion Wrestler in 1910 using a Squat routine. He did up to 6000 daily Squats and later added weights – Squatting with a 95kg/210lb donut-shaped grindstone.4 In Europe, the German strongman Henry “Milo” Steinborn was first to recognize “deep knee bends” with a heavy barbell were key to getting stronger.5 He discovered increasing his Squat to 250kg/550lb for five reps made his other lifts increase. That’s how he set records in the Snatch and Clean & Jerk. When Milo moved to the USA in 1921 to pursue a strongman career, the Squat wasn’t popular yet and Power Racks didn’t exist.

So Milo did Squats by first tilting the barbell on one end, then leaning under it to get it under this back. This strength feat – the “Steinborn Lift” – blew the Americans away. After witnessing Milo Steinborn Squat, Mark Berry (the later editor of Strength magazine) emphasized Squats in his training.6 It paid off – Berry went from struggling to build muscle for years to gaining 50lb muscular body-weight in a year and winning the national weightlifting championships in 1925.

So Berry told everyone to Squat – both in his Strength magazine and as head coach of the USA Olympic weightlifting team (1932/1936). His most famous pupils became John Grimek (Mr Universe and 2x Mr America) and Joe Hise who gained 29lb in a single month following Berry’s Squat advice. Peary Rader, who founded Iron Man magazine in 1936, also followed Mark Berry’s Squat routines. He went from 128lb to 210lb body-weight in one year, and won competitions for seven years thanks to his 450lb Squat. So Rader spent the next decades telling everyone to Squat in Iron Man Magazine. Fast forward 1954 – Clarence Ross, Mr America, called the Squat “The King of Exercises”.7 Olympic lifters, powerlifters and bodybuilders from all over the world had by now discovered Squats and turned it into the backbone of their strength routines. Examples: The Canadian Doug Hepburn Squatted 665lb in 1952, won the world weightlifting championships in 1953 and won the British Empire Games in 1954. The American Paul Anderson Squatted 760lb (even more later) and won the world weightlifting championships in 1955 and the Olympic Games in 1956. The Brit Reg Park Squatted 600lb and won Mr Universe in 1952, 1958, 1964. He became the 2nd guy to Bench Press 500lb after Doug Hepburn and published the 5×5 routine in 1960.8 They all used home-made Squat Stands to get the bar on their back. But Power Racks became more popular in 1960 when Terry Tedd and Dr Craig Whitehead used them for testing new strength training techniques… and when Peary Rader wrote about Power Racks in Iron Man Magazine.9 In 1961 Dr Karl Klein published a study claiming full Squats are bad for the knees.10 Klein compared the knee laxity of 128 Squatters to 360 people who didn’t and concluded Squatters had loose knees. Studies have since then proven Squats build strong and healthy knees.1112 But the knee myth started. So outside weight lifting circles, coaches ignored the Squat, considering it dangerous and useless.13 But in 1969 the Olympic Lifter Bill Starr became one of the first strength coaches for football teams. His 5×5 routine consisted of Squats 3x/week for five sets of five reps.14 In 1964 the Squat, Bench and Deadlift became the three contests lifts in the Powerlifting sport. Strength athletes increased their focus on the Squat even more as it was now their primary lift, no longer just a strength builder for Olympic Weightlifting or Bodybuilding. Today, the Squat remains a hard lift many people try to avoid using various excuses although it remains the best exercise to gain strength and muscle. Nothing I did in the gym worked until I started to Squat. That’s why I’ve been Squatting almost every week, usually several times a week, for 14 years. Why Squat Squats Build Strength The Squat is the best exercise for building overall strength. Here’s why: Squats strengthen your largest, longest, most powerful muscles – glutes, sartorius and soleus.15 Squats strengthen your posterior chain muscles – hamstrings, glutes, lower back, calves, etc Squats strengthen your posterior chain through the longest range of motion (half your length) Squats require you to balance the weight which works your abs, obliques, shoulders, arms, etc Squats work your whole body as one piece (NOT in isolation) like you move outside the gym Squats stress your body with the heaviest weights – the more you lift, the stronger you are No exercise or machine is as effective as the Squat for getting stronger. The Leg Press is inferior because you don’t have to balance the weight. The leg extension is inferior because it only works your quads, with light weights. Deadlift is inferior because the range of motion is smaller. Squats are king, period. Plus you can easily get stronger at Squats by starting light and adding 2.5kg/5lb each workout. You can’t on a single joint exercise like a leg extension that uses less muscle. Squats are a multi-joint, compound exercise – it works more muscles which allows you to lift more, progress longer and get stronger. This strength carries-over outside the gym. If you lift a heavy object in real life, no machine balances or supports it for you. You must do it yourself. Squat force you to balance and support the weight yourself which works your body, muscles, bones and joints like you’ll use them in real life. Squats Build Muscle Squats are more than just a “leg exercise”. Your hips and knees are bending, but the rest of your body has to support the weight and keep your torso from collapsing. This is how Squats work your whole body, as one piece. Here are just some of the muscles working when you Squat… Lower body. Your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and groin are the prime movers when you Squat. But Squats also work your calves which have to stabilize your ankles. Upper body. To keep the bar positioned on your upper-back, you must squeeze your shoulder-blades and keep your chest up. This works your arms, shoulders, traps, upper-back, etc. Core. Your abs, obliques and lower back all have to work hard during Squats to prevent you from collapsing under the weight as you Squat up and down. Heavy Squats releases more muscle building hormones than any other exercise – 200% more growth hormone and 25% more testosterone than the Leg Press.16 If you want to build muscle quickly and naturally, or you want to prevent muscle loss from aging, Squats are the best exercise. Squats Burn Fat Fat is stored energy. Exercise burns energy, thus burns fat. The more muscles you work, the more energy you burn. Squats work more muscles than any other exercise, so they also burn more fat as any other exercise. The more weight you Squat, the higher the intensity, the more fat you’ll burn. And that’s just what happens in the gym. Outside the gym, your body and muscles must recover from those heavy Squats. Muscle recovery burns calories. As a result, Squats increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours post-workout, helping you burn fat outside the gym.17 Note that Squats aren’t a silver bullet for losing fat. They’ll help you burn fat, get leaner and build six pack abs. But unless you Squat all day long, you won’t burn significant calories to out-train a bad diet. And that’s whether you’re doing Squats or any other exercise. So make sure you eat right too. Squats Boost Endurance Every step you take when you run requires an effort. If you double your leg strength by increasing your Squat from 150lb to 300lb, it now requires half the effort to take those steps. The same run becomes easier because it takes longer for your legs to get tired. So you can run faster and longer. But won’t the muscle gains from Squatting slow you down? No. First, you won’t gain 50lb/25kg of muscle overnight unless you stuff yourself with food or use drugs. I’ve been Squatting for 14 years, Squat over 400lb and weigh 170lb at 5’8″. Despite gaining 43lb muscle over the years, I’m still “normal”. Two, increasing your Squat is like putting a bigger engine in your car. You might gain 25lb/10kg in six months by doubling your Squat to 300lb/140kg. But that’s not enough to slow down. Your stronger legs will make you run faster, just like a car with a bigger engine is faster. If you’re still not convinced Squats will boost your endurance – stronger legs have improved the 5k running economy and race times in trained endurance athletes, even without changes in VO2 max.18 They’ve also improved run times by helping maintain stride length and race pace longer.19 Squats Increase Explosiveness for Sports Squats won’t make you slow for sports – that’s a myth. They’ll make you faster because Squats build stronger legs. If your legs are stronger, you can do more work in the same amount of time. If you can do more work in the same time, you have more power.20 So you’re more explosive and faster – not slower. On top of that, Squats will also make you dominate at sports by increasing your vertical jump,21 boosting endurance, increasing fitness, strengthening your whole body, improving balance and coordination, protecting your knees/back against injury, etc. If you want to competitive, you must Squat. Squats Strengthen Your Bones When you Squat gravity pulls the weight on your back down. This compresses everything under the bar. Your spine and bones are living tissues which respond to this compression force by getting stronger. A study from Karlsson et al showed weightlifters have 10% more bone density.22 Denser bones are better than weak ones because they’re harder to break. Denser bones also prevent osteoporosis.23 If you already have osteoporosis, Squats will prevent age-related strength and muscle loss. This improves balance and coordination, protecting you from falls that could be fatal. No exercise is effective as Squats for building stronger bones. Squats combine bearing heavy weights with a long range of motion (half your height). You can lift more weight on a Deadlift, but over a smaller rom. Bench/Press involve lighter weights. Running or cycling involve no weights at all. How to Squat If you’ve never Squatted before, or you want to make sure you’re using correct technique so you get stronger without getting hurt, here’s a quick overview on how to Squat with proper form… Grab the bar with a medium grip. Put your feet directly under the bar, get under it and put it between your traps and rear shoulder muscles (“low bar”). Chest up, upper-back tight. Unrack the bar by Squatting up. Take one step back with one leg, one with your other leg. Stand straight with your knees and hips locked for maximum stability. Keep your upper-back tight. Take a big breath, hold it and Squat. Do this by pushing your knees to the side and your hips back and down. Squat until you break parallel – your hip crease must go below the top of your knee. Hold your breath at the bottom. Don’t stop but quickly reverse the movement by driving your hips straight up. Keep your knees out, your chest up and your upper-back tight. Lock your hips and knees at the top. Exhale and rest a second.

Then take a big breath, hold it and Squat your next rep. After your fifth rep, rack the weight by stepping forward. Easy. The key is patience – the more you Squat, and the more you focus on Squatting with proper form, the better your technique will be. This requires conscious effort at first. But if you stick with it, Squatting with good technique will eventually become automatic and natural. If you’d like a print version of these tips to take with you to the gym, download my Squat Tip Sheet.

Squat Form 101 Your optimal Squat technique will depend on your build. So it’s a bad idea to mimic my Squat form – I have long legs/short torso/narrow frame, if you have short legs/long torso/wide frame, your best form will be different.

Start with these Squat form guidelines, individualize as you go… Bar path: when looking from the side – straight line up and down over your mid-foot Stance: shoulder-width apart from heel to heel (not toes to toes, wider!) Feet: turned out about 30°, feet flat on the floor Knees:

pointing in the same direction as your feet Grip: medium width, with your back supporting the weight, not your hands Bar: between your traps and rear shoulder muscles, centered on your back Chest: up, shoulder-blades squeezed together, stay tight from start to finish Head: inline with the rest of your spine, don’t look up, don’t look at your feet Unracking:

feet under the bar, unrack by squatting up, then step back not forward Breathing: big breath at top, hold it on way down, hold it at bottom, exhale at the top Squatting down:

push your knees out and hips back, keep your lower back neutral Squatting up: push your hips straight up and your knees out, keep your chest up Depth:

hip crease must go below the top of your knees, thighs parallel isn’t deep enough Between reps: keep your hips and knees locked, keep your upper-back tight, breathe Racking: step forward to rack the weight, aim for the verticals not the uprights If you’d like to know why this is the best way to Squat heavy weights and get stronger without getting hurt, read the bigger Squat technique section below.

Read more: http://stronglifts.com/squat/

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