The beauty of Squats

As you read this, I would like you to picture what would happen to your body if someone were to suddenly remove all of the muscles in your stomach and lower back. As absurd as it may be to think about, what would happen is that there would be nothing keeping your upper torso sitting, or standing, upright. The top half of your body would simply collapse over, as it would no longer be supported by those muscles that keep it in a strong and secure position.

Many men and women think that in order to get a flat, toned stomach, you should spend time doing ab crunches or other stomach intensive exercises – this is the exercise equivalent of treating the symptom and not the cause. If you want a toned mid-section and well-shaped thighs and glutes, what you need to do is squat. At Roark, we take a lot of time to coach the squat properly to our members, and once its properly understood and performed, it is the most effective way of building toned, functional legs and core. The squat also developed good postures, while assisting in far better performance in the essential cardio elements such a running, rowing or cycling. As a woman, almost all your power comes from your squat movement, and developing and honing it will only enhance any other physical undertaking, from running to childbirth.

We will start by teaching you the basics, and then we will add weight to increase your effort and output. What we want you to be able to do is to be able to produce an increased amount of work over the same period of time, in layman’s terms this means you will get stronger. The greater your output, the quicker and better your results. Squatting, therefore, will allow you body to be better positioned and stronger as you become more tired. This will allow you to run further or quicker than before, while also limiting any change of injury you may have had previously.

The squat engages all the muscles in your body at once, and the more weights you add to your squat, the more those muscles will develop. Forget lunging, situps, crunches, that machine at the gym that you lie back on and push up with your legs against. Those all have their purpose, but they isolate your muscles, which is often why you don’t get the results you are looking for. The human body is built to work as a system, and this system is demonstrated in all its glory within the humble squat movement. If you were to reduce your training down to one strength exercise that would get you results in strength and form, the squat would be it.

To see how to perform a basic squat in the Perfect Form series we did for Mens Health:

For more videos on movement basics, see:

The Squat Stretch

The Clean

The Pushup

The Shoulder Stretch

The Overhead Squat

The Hip Stretch

The Front Squat

The Dead Lift

The Back Squat

The Burpee

Image: Nike

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