Hail to the king of exercises

By Adam Osborn

Many people have strong opinions, founded in truth or not about the squat. Some think its dangerous and injurious. Others believe the squat is the undisputed king of exercises and that performing it is like taking your awesome pills. Why is the squat the rightful king and why should you be squatting?

Lets begin with a quiz. Do you do any of the following?

  • Get out of bed in the morning
  • Use the restroom
  • Get into or out of a car
  • Sit down
  • Stand up from seated
  • Pick things up from the floor
  • Squat

If you had positive responses to any of these, then you should have also answered to the last one. Why? Because all of these are examples of the squat. If squatting is such a common movement, why are people so afraid to squat train in the gym?

Why Dont You Squat?

The three most common concerns I hear are:

  • Knees its not good for the knees or my knees already hurt too much
  • Spine it can harm the spine or cause herniated discs
  • I prefer to focus on my upper body

None of these is true. And squatting can actually fix or help these and related concerns.

Benefits of Squatting

Studies show that when squats are performed correctly, they can have numerous benefits for the whole body. Squats can:

  • Decrease or eliminate knee pain
  • Boost the development of stabilizing muscles and connective tissue in the knees
  • Bolster the spine from future injury
  • Improve core muscle function (abdominals and back muscles)
  • Jump-start your basal metabolic rate by increasing muscle density
  • Enhance the fullness and tone of your behind
  • Help you burn extras calories, up to 24 to 48 hours after a training session

According to bodybuildingweb.net, working out breaks down your muscles, causing a release of growth hormone along with testosterone and various other hormones. Squatting works most major muscle groups in your body, but mainly your legs. And your legs represent the largest group. By breaking down your leg muscles, you release lots of growth hormone. This gets distributed throughout the body benefiting all muscles.

With all these benefits, you can see some serious changes in the mirror.

Remember, you already do a bunch of squats every day whether you realize it or not. Take time to also train this movement in the fitness center. The results will be improved function outside the fitness center and decreased risk of injury in your everyday life.

Hail to the King of Exercises! Now its time to get out there and start squatting. If you need help with form, please ask a fitness specialist. Well gladly teach you the way of the squat!

Be well and squat on!

Adam Osborn is a fitness specialist at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center.