Should you use weights and if so what weights? Should you squat on a machine and if so which one? Also, what’s the best form? Here we explore all you need to know about squatting.
Squatting is hugely important to us as humans. Why? The main reasons are that it is "functional". We need to be able to squat to lift anything heavy from children to shopping to changing a tyre. It builds muscles all over our body. It clearly focuses on the lower body muscle groups but squatting triggers anabolic stimulation which helps trigger muscle development throughout the body. Squatting also develops connective tissues in our knees and hips. This means that all our tendons and ligaments grow thicker and are less likely to tear when stressed. Squatting keeps your flexible, can help you burn fat and finally can give you a great shaped but!
Squatting in itself is quite a basic move but the devil is in the detail as to where you should position your toes, how far apart your feet should be and how much weight you should use. But let’s start with the feet.
You may have been told different things over the years regarding the position of your feet. Do you have your toes facing forward in line with your hips, or facing out? Experts now seem to agree that the answer lies in your body and what it is you are trying to achieve. In terms of your body then if your hips naturally rotate out you may find it more comfortable to have your toes pointed slightly out.
In terms of benefit if your toes are slightly pointed outwards then you can achieve a deeper squat but if your toes point forwards then you can generate more power into the squat. Overall it appears to rest upon how you feel comfortable and what you do with your toes when you walk. In summary there is no right or wrong here, it’s all to do with what your feet and hips naturally do and what kind of squat you are trying to achieve.
There are really three basic positions of width, medium, wide and narrow, and all play a role. Let’s start with the medium position.
This is where you squat with hi
Moving your knees in and excessively leaning forward are the two most common mistakes with squats. Dino Del Mastro, NASM Master Instructor, says that
As the ageing process begins, lots of people think these effects are inevitable however lots of other people believe that exercise can create anti-ageing benefits across a range of bodily functions. From skin, to bones, to weight and to overall wellbeing.
A proper training program can prevent both the mental and physical deterioration of ageing, helping to keep your heart in top condition, as well as maintaining muscle definition and a sharp brain. Due to this, exercise is the best total body anti-ageing tool that is available to everyone because it has the ability to keep you looking young and feeling energized which is more effective than other methods such as supplements or plastic surgery.
There is a decline in bone mass of about 1% a year after the age of 35. Whilst women lose the most bone when going through the menopause, men are also at risk of bone loss and osteoporosis which is a condition linked with a big increase in fracture risk. It can be argued that instead of prescribing patients with calcium supplements or prescription drugs, to prevent bone loss in ageing patients, doctors should prescribe a strength training program. This is because studies show that overloading the bone with loads is the best way to build bone in both the young and elderly.
Any weight bearing exercise, for example running, will help slow bone loss. In order to stimulate a bone building effect, loading the hip and spine with weight you are unaccustomed to will help achieve this - like squatting. A case study found that two women who competed in powerlifting for over 20 years had stronger bones in comparison to women who were 25 years younger and at the peak of bone mineral density.
Depression is a common aspect of ageing due to a decrease in brain transmitters such as dopamine that help us to feel motivated and upbeat which is why one of the most interesting anti-ageing effects of exercise is how it influences our stress response, hormone balance and mood. A sedentary lifestyle emphasises the release of stress hormones that are experienced during ageing, whilst we may not associate sitting down to be stressful, our bodies are not supposed to be inactive and so responds with an excessive cortisol response.
Strength training and interval programs stimulate the neuromuscular system creating the effect of better fat burning, increased cognitive function, improved energy levels, greater muscle mass in addition to the ability to handle challenging parts of life we experience.
Scientists believe that the age-related decline in strength and muscle mass is as a result of the disuse of the neuromuscular system, rather than ageing. It is important to maintain strength as studies show a close correlation between strength and longevity of life. One explanation of this is that as strength decreases, risk of falling increases with fractures caused often leading to a reduction in health ending in mortality; statistics in the UK support this as they show that 33% of people who fracture a hip in the UK die within 12 months. Therefore, strength and muscle follows the idea of “use it or lose it”.
Through the correct training habits, you can maintain your muscle and strength throughout your life, it is possible to regain previously lost muscle to prevent negative effects of inactivity if you adopt a training program in your later years. There are several reasons why muscle has a protective effect against ageing; muscle mass in the lower body is associated with the ability to survive cancer and other diseases. Muscle tissue is a major metabolic organ, it is a main consumer of glucose, and thereby a lack of muscle means that the body will not be able to cope well with the surge of insulin resistance as well as diabetes. As muscle is the storage space for the building blocks of protein, if you fall ill and possess a low muscle mass, you have fewer reserves to help combat the illness.
By full body, we mean exercises that require you to use many muscles and joints at the same time. We think the following five fit this bill and should give you
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