Squats are one of the two major lower body movements. While some neglect the infamous squat, I have found that it is more likely a result of insecurity and uncertainty which so many (especially the men) feel about it. We get a lot of questions on Squatting! I've added video explanations for the top 5 questions we get!
- How to do it correctly?
Check out our video! Basically, go as low as you can, keeping your feet in a neutral and natural stance, and body upright. Stay on your heals!
2. How will it help me?
Essentially, a squat is the entire lower body performing concentric and eccentric contractions. The core is performing as well, keeping the body upright, making it a great mid-body workout as well, as it performs static contraction.
3, Is it better to squat or do a series of machines which isolate the muscles?
Squat during strength phases, and squat if you are trying to get into great shape. If you are squatting because it is great for your overall fitness, stick with the big squat movements; back squat, front squat and overhead squat! Save those machines for the body building! They isolate smaller muscle groups, helping to accentuate and activate each one. While it is useful for bodybuilders and esthetics, it takes up much more time in a session, gets less work done, and does not help to improve the quality of your squat.
4. What is the difference between a smith rack squat and a free squat? (is it safer?)
The smith rack takes away all of the work from the stabilizing muscles. You'll likely be able to lift more because all you have to do is push, and no worries about your back position, feet position or which direction the force is being applied! It is not more safe in the sense that you probably shouldn't be handling loads on a pretend squat if you cannot normally squat them! Scale back, take some weight off and master a good quality squat before loading your bar!
5. Should I be squatting more reps or adding more weight to the bar?
This depends on your overall goal and phase of training. If you are trying to get stronger, you'll have to lift heavier load. If you are able to perform 4 reps at a particular weight, and are trying to improve strength, load. If you are training to improve endurance and overall fitness, perform heavier loads at between 6 and 12 reps. Every now and again, experiment with heavier sets and see how many reps you can perform without breaking form/ technique. If you are able to perform more than 12 reps, you can usually always add more weight to maintain a sufficient level of difficulty.