HEALTH AND FITNESS: Dear Sir,
I’ve recently joined a gym in Thimphu. I figured out that I loved doing squats. I would be grateful if you can tell me what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing squats. How can one do it safely without hurting one’s back?
Deadlift, bench press and squats are among the oldest, most popular and most productive exercises ever. They are cure-alls for health and athletic enhancement.
Squat is the most-hated amongst the three, for being notorious in making the strongest puke all over the gym floor. Muscles involved are quadriceps (thigh), glutes (bottom) and hamstring (backside of the thigh).
Squats, when done correctly, can help build muscle size and strength in the legs. It can strengthen your abdominal, obliques and erector spinae (lower back) muscle. It can be used specifically to improve cardiovascular output, improve stamina, burn fat, lose weight, improve power and explosiveness, among others.
You just need to find an educated and experienced individual to show you the ropes.
Most people hurt their back on the squat, because of leaning too far forward. This could be because of poor form. Also, a muscle is only as strong as it is flexible. Lack of flexibility can cause serious back injury when heavy squatting.
You can protect your back by perfecting your form before chasing the weight. Also do hyper extensions for lower back once a week, along with some abdominal exercise, like crunches and leg raises, to keep your core right and strong whilst doing heavy lifts like squat, dead lift and standing over head presses.
At the end of each workout, spend a few minutes static stretching (stretch holds) the muscles that you just trained to enhance and improve flexibility.
| Tip of the week:
“Squat is for everybody young and old, male and female, do it and unleash your true mental and physical potential”
My tips to squat effectively and safely.
1. In my opinion, I don’t call a squat a squat, unless you break parallel while coming down with the weight, only a full squat is most potent.
2. Use a stance that feels naturally comfortable for you.
3. Make sure your chest is high, butt back and lower back arched and tight.
4. Always go down slow and controlled and come up as fast as you can.
5. No matter how great an exercise. If you still feel discomfort or pain, trash it and choose another movement to achieve your goal – to build, not break or hurt, your body.