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Life has its Ups and Downs. We call them SQUATS!

Squatting is one of the most popular and effective exercises among women today. It is a great exercise as it strengthens the lower body muscles “particularly glute muscles which are the biggest and strongest muscles in the body”, which could help to maintain a stronger body, improve movement, burn fat, and tone muscles. As a matter of fact, we squat all the time without even noticing, as it mimics usual daily movements such as sitting on a chair, playing with our children, or going to the bathroom.

Although squatting seems like a simple movement, it’s a complicated exercise that could result in lower body injuries if performed incorrectly. So, to make the most of it, and to avoid injuries, you must know how to SQUAT PROPERLY.

Right

Wrong

STANCE COMES FIRST

Foot stance width plays a pivotal role for proper squatting, whether is a neutral stance “your feet are shoulder-width or narrower and knees, hips, and toes are pointing forward” or a wide stance “much harder, works a greater number of muscles”.

YOU ARE ABOUT TO GET PUNCHED!

Exactly, just imagine that you’re getting a punch and start tensing your abs, keep your chest up, back is up not arched, your head in a neutral position, eyes forward, and BE PROUD!

Hips Don’t LIE!

When it comes to squatting, hips don’t lie if they felt stressed and overloaded as a result of incorrect exercise, so on your next squatting session try to remember:

  • Hips and buttocks are pushed back and above the knee level.
  • Knees are over the ankles and not extending beyond toes.
  • Arms are straight to get balanced “never overextend your arms”.
  • Keep your back straight then slowly come down and lower your torso until your knees make a right angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor “squat like you’re sitting in a chair”.

After proper squatting, you can add some challenge and try holding a dumbbell or kettlebell to increase workout intensity without affecting the spine. Additionally, you can strengthen your squatting with a resistance band to activate your glutes and provide extra resistance when lowering into a squat, which is called the eccentric movement, and also provide resistance when standing, which is called a concentric movement. Moreover, a resistance band is affordable, effective, versatile, and lightweight compared to heavy dumbbells.

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MIRROR, MIRROR on the wall, who's the strongest squatter of them all?

Do you think doing your squats in front of a mirror is a good idea? Well, Think AGAIN!

  • Squatting requires focus and mirrors can be distracting, as it reflects you and all the surroundings.
  • The mirror gives limited visual feedback of your body movement.
  • Mirrors could affect your balance when you should focus on your internal balance instead of the visual one since the visual system is much slower and could delay the response.

So, when you hit the gym next time you can record your squats with your phone camera and only use mirrors to admire your toned abs and to appreciate your amazing progress.

For more explanation about proper squatting, you can watch the following video:

SQUATTING AND PREGNANCY

Fitness and health experts revealed that after consulting your doctor and taking the appropriate precautions, squatting is an excellent exercise to maintain a safe pregnancy and to induce labor. It strengthens the lower parts of the body “particularly thigh muscles, hips, and pelvis”, helps to maintain balance, elevates your heart rate, improves your cardiovascular system, relieves pains in pregnancy “lower back pain” and helps facilitate normal childbirth.

“Squats allow gravity to open your pelvis and giving your baby more room to descend further into the birth canal” Amanda Holbert, a certified prenatal yoga instructor.

Interested in learning more? Join Our JISME community to share your thoughts, ask questions, engage with people and listen to their stories.

  • (AAP), A. O. A. P. 2016. Using a mirror for squat exercises: Is there a benefit? Available:        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/02/160218062231.htm.
  • HEMMERICH, A., BANDROWSKA, T. & DUMAS, G. A. (2019). The effects of squatting while pregnant on    pelvic dimensions: A computational simulation to understand childbirth. J Biomech, 87, 64-74.
  • LAWRENCE, A., LEWIS, L., HOFMEYR, G. J. & STYLES, C. (2013). Maternal positions and mobility during  first stage labour. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  • LORENZETTI, S., OSTERMANN, M., ZEIDLER, F., ZIMMER, P., JENTSCH, L., LIST, R., TAYLOR, W. R. & SCHELLENBERG, F. (2018). How to squat? Effects of various stance widths, foot placement angles and level  of experience on knee, hip and trunk motion and loading. BMC Sports Sci Med Rehabil, 10, 14.
  • STAFF, H. H. P. 2020. Strengthening your core: Right and wrong ways to do lunges, squats, and planks.  Available: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/strengthening-your-core-right-and-wrong-ways-to-do-lunges-  squats-and-planks-201106292810.

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