Why the squat is an exercise that can’t be missed in your training – 06/15/2022

A basic human movement, the squat is a powerful exercise and provides many benefits: it works several muscle groups simultaneously and increases strength, power and endurance, especially in the legs.

In addition, the squat is functional, that is, the basis of countless movements in our daily lives, such as sitting down and getting up from a chair, as explained by Maurício Garcia, a master in sciences applied to the locomotor system at the department of orthopedics at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) and founding partner of Sonafe (National Society of Sports Physiotherapy).

“We don’t even need to stick to the squat exercise done in gyms, with a bar supported on the shoulders. The act of squatting and lifting is something we learn on our own even before completing one year of age”, points out Garcia.

benefits of squats

  • Hypertrophy of the muscles of the thighs and buttocks;
  • Strength gains in the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves;
  • Increased bone mass of the femur (thigh bone);
  • Improved performance in sports;
  • Protects the hip, knee and ankle joints (by strengthening the leg muscles).

In addition to the lower limbs, the exercise also works:

  • Abdominal muscles (which stabilize the trunk during movement);
  • Lumbar region, area normally affected by osteoporosis, as well as the femur.

I’m a beginner, what care should I take when doing the squat?

There are several variations of squats: bodyweight, barbell, dumbbell, sumo, deep, partial, jumping, unilateral. A physical education professional is the best person to define which movements should be part of your training, according to your physical conditioning and objective.

For those who are starting, it is important to pay even more attention to the first phase of the movement, in which you project the glutes back and lower. At this point, look straight ahead, try to keep your spine straight and avoid projecting your torso too far forward or taking your heels off the floor.

Glêbia Alexa Cardoso, PhD in physical education and professor of postgraduate studies in health and society at UERN (Rio Grande do Norte State University), points out that in the “conventional” squat, the feet need to be hip-width apart and in line with the knees. , which cannot protrude in or out excessively during exercise.

If you can’t do the squat, you can start with these steps (evolving to the next one after a few weeks as the movement gets easier):

  1. Sit down and get up from a bench, chair or box;
  2. Sit on the floor and get up;
  3. Do half squats, using only your body weight;
  4. Do the full squat, using only your body weight;
  5. Squat with dumbbells or barbell.
Chair Squats - iStock - iStock

If you can’t do the traditional squat, perform the exercise in the chair, lightly supporting your glutes on the seat and then rising.

Image: iStock

What is the ideal squat frequency?

Cardoso explains that this depends a lot on the objective of the training: “If the person’s focus is weight training to gain strength and hypertrophy, they can do squats two to three times a week, preferably on alternate days.”

Patrícia Guedes, physical therapist and Master in Rehabilitation Sciences from USP (University of São Paulo) in the area of ​​posture and movement, reinforces that squatting often goes beyond performance and aesthetics, it is a matter of health.

“In women, for example, there is an increase in bone loss during the climacteric (transition period from the reproductive to the non-reproductive phase) and menopause, so it is important to maintain a frequency of exercise for muscle and bone activation.”

What are the damages if the squat is not done correctly?

If the muscles are not prepared for the effort to which they will be subjected, the spine, hips and knees will be overloaded, increasing the risk of injury.

“Often, people increase the instability of the foot support unnecessarily, which impairs the correct activation of the muscles for maintaining posture, unnecessarily overloading the tendons and ligaments of the feet and knees”, warns Guedes.

People who already have a previous injury or a dysfunctional posture can be harmed, as is the case with dynamic valgus, which happens when the knees are projected inwards. In these cases, high rates of injury were observed, especially in the joints, as observed by the postgraduate professor in physical education at UERN.

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She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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