What muscles do you need to train to launch the metabolic process for the whole body? The leg muscles. Training of what muscles will help to lose weight in shortest terms by huge energy consuming and the “afterburn” effect (when after workout your body stays in mode of increased energy consuming for few hours)? The leg muscles. What is the most “ripped” muscle at gyms? Biceps! This biceps-madness is one of the causes to people, who are serious about development of their body, prefer to train at home. They understand, that without strong legs it is impossible to safely and productively train any other muscle group. And the best exercise for legs is certainly the squats. Absolutely natural move, giving absolutely fantastic results, as well as possible fits for home training. Start to squat – and most of your physical development problems will disappear along with overweight and periodical depression. Include squats to your training program – and start saving money for new clothing. Because only this universal legs exercise (the biggest muscles in your body) is able to help you normalize your bodyweight without extra financial costs or questionable meds. You don’t need to hunt for a new-fashioned diet or to look for a miracle mean of gaining mass. Just start to squat. Start right now.
What muscles work: quadriceps, buttock muscles, rear hip muscles, erector spine muscle.
Performing the exercise: take the starting position by putting your legs on shoulder-width and turning your toes a little outside. Cross your arms before yourself, putting your palms on shoulders (photo 1a, 1b). Start to go down, bending your knees and hips at the same time. Hold your back straight, avoid leaning front – rather, approximately at the middle of your way down, move the center of gravity a little backwards, like you want to sit down on a small chair. At the lower point you should touch your inner hip area to your calves (photo 2a, 2b). Hold on for a second, and go back to the starting position, doing the lift only with your legs force.
Squats (starting position, front view) Squats (starting position, side view)Squats (final position, front view)Squats (final position, side view)  
Notice: remember, squatting is a power exercise. Do not try to make it easier by springing at the lower point with your muscles and standing up with heave. The movement should be controlled. Watch the position of knees – they must always point at your toes direction. Distribute the weight equally to both of your legs and to the whole length of your foot. While rising, use your muscles and imagine, that you are not just unbending legs, but pushing the flood with them. Perform the exercise with tempo 4-1-3-2 (four seconds to go down, one second pause in the lower point, three seconds to rise, and two seconds to prepare to the next rep). If it is difficult for you to keep balance – put your hands before you or rise them to horizontal position as you go down. Watch your breathe: exhale before you start to squat or as you go down, as you rise – exhale with your abdominals tensed (this will help your back muscles to keep your body vertical). If you are aiming to master one-leg squats – try to put your legs more and more narrow, until your heels touch: this will teach you to keep balance and help you to develop front leg muscles, that are responsible for balance. Since performing this exercise causes increased load on muscles and joints, always do it after the stretch or do the first set at limited amplitude (gradually increasing the depth).
Variations of squats: if classic full squats are too difficult for you, start from easier variations – squats with pillar and partial squats, which you can read about in article “Squats for Beginners”.
If you can easily squat more than 20 times with required technique – it’s time to move to the “pro” category and take a look at different variations of one-leg squats.

Good books to read:

Bret Contreras. Bodyweight Strength Training Anatomy – Human Kinetics, 2013 – 224 p.
Kavadlo Al. Pushing the Limits: Total Body Strenght with No Equipment – Dragon Door Publications, 2013 – 224 p.
BJ Gaddour. Your Body Is Your Barbell: No Gym. Just Gravity. Build a Leaner, Stronger, More Muscular You in 28 Days – Rodale, 2014 – 288 p.
Paul Wade. Convict Conditioning 2: Advanced Prison Training Tactics for Muscle Gain, Fat Loss and Bulletproof Joints – Dragon Door Publications, 2012 – 340 p.
Pavel Tsatsouline. The Naked Warrior: Master the Secrets of the Super-strong, Using Bodyweight Exercises Only – Dragon Door Publications, 2004 – 218 p.

Other articles about squats:

Easy squat variations: pillar squats and partial chair squats.
Partial one-leg squats: on a chair with inactive leg move (“skater”).
Full one-leg squats (“pistol”).

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