Squats Made Simple - Seventeen Different Types of Squats
Squats activate close to 200 muscles in our body and have the power to quickly sculpt our body and change our metabolism. Yet all too often we are stuck in a rut with our exercise program and forget the many different variations that the squat can offer. Additionally, the proper form of the squat is often called into question. Join us as we explore over 17 different versions of the squat, explore in detail the proper form of the squat and the controversy around the preferred form and view some outstanding example exercises of advanced squats such as the Bulgarian Squat and much more.
Squats Sculpt Our Body and Offers The Power to Change Our Metabolism
Squats Are Not Just a Beauty Exercise - They Are a Functional Exercise
Many in the fitness world look to the squat and other target toning exercise for beautifying their body. Yes, muscle will build a beautiful physique but our health should be our first focus.
Fun Fitness Quote - With Beauty As a Focus
"Look like a beauty, lift like a beast."
"It is a shame for anyone to grow older without seeing the strength and beauty your body is capable of."
"You create beauty with your attitudes, your behaviors and you actions."
"I don't sweat for pounds and inches, I sweat to make the outside match the inside."
"Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction." Anne Frank
"The human body is the best form of art." Jess C. Scott
"Exercise has been found to cause health happiness."
Three Types of Squats
Three Types or Categories of Squats
There are dozens of varieties of squat but all can essentially be categorized into parallel, wide and single leg.
But before we begin with all the various varieties of these three types, let's address a popular controversy in the fitness industry - the proper form for performing squats.
Muscles Protect the Knee
Squats and Your Knees - What You Must Know
Client: I don't do squats because I have bad knees.
Trainer: You have bad knees because you don't do squats.
Good and Bad Squat Form - Knee Position
Build Muscles Around the Knee To Prevent Pain
Building muscles around the knee can also be achieved with leg raises. While the squat will be a stronger exercises that directly engages and places more resistance on the quadriceps, if you have severe knee pain, I would recommend starting with side lying leg lifts. This low impact exercise will introduce your body to building up the muscle in your legs.
Remember, I am fitness professional not a medical professional. The rule for always seeing your physician before beginning any fitness program is essential. Do learn what exercises are available so that you can ask your physician or the physical therapist specific questions. Do not perform or start any exercise program without a full consultation with a medical professional.
Body Builders and the Controversy Over Squat Form
In the fitness industry, there is some controversy over the proper squat form. When in doubt, be safe. My opinion as an individual with knee problems as an instructor and certified personal trainer is what is right for weight builders is simply different for the rest of the population. That does not make either group right or wrong but highlights the fact that fitness must be customized. Physicians attend school because medicine is so complex and the human body is the most complex machine ever built - technology getting closer to mapping some of our human functions but it is still copying and lacks the many advantages the human body offers of growth and healing.
Body builders, I feel can perform squats differently because they have developed their muscles.
For the rest of the populace, we must take great care with the form that we engage for our squats.
To this end, please take a few moments to closely study the four box demonstration by Brad Wark who clearly showcases the right and wrong form. Once you are an elite body builder, you might consider another form but for the majority of the non-elite, taking great care with you knees is high recommended.
Starting with a wide, shallow squat is always my starting point with my clients. And yes, most of my clients will give me allot of push back and baulk with the saying "I have terrible knees so I cannot do the squat" when in reality the wide, shallow squat or a wall sit with the invisible chair will help them prevent knee pain.
Squat Form - Examples of Good and Bad
Squat Safety Check List
1. Always begin a new exercise program with your physician's approval.
2. Keep your knees in line with your toes.
(Our knees are a valuable joint that is prone to injury)
3. Squat as low as your knees are comfortable.
(Shallow squats are better than no squats)
4. Do not lock your knees.
If you feel any pain stop immediately.
Bulgarian or One Leg Squat with Weights
Do Incorporate a Variety of Squats and a Variety of Exercises
"Man shall not live by squats alone." Easy Exercise
Squats are similar to the crunches and cardio, they are a fundamental exercise. A great exercise program is one designed with a variety of exerises. Do not live on squats alone. Do incorporate squats into your weekly exercise program and I promise you, you will see more results.
Don't forget good nutrition!
Exercise without the proper fuel to run your engine is not enough. We must change our diet and take in the nutrients that our body and muscles need.
Squat and Leg Lift
Take Your Exercise Program Up a Level
- Add repetitions
- Add weights
- Try a couple of the different varieties of the one leg squat
Activate The Leg Muscles - Leg Lifts and Squats
Leg lifts and squats concentrate beautifully upon the muscles in our legs. Both the leg lifts and the squats also offer the added value of target toning the glutes. Incorporating leg lifts and squats together will provide greater overall muscle tone and assist you in changing your metabolism.
18 Different Bodyweight Squat Variations
"Squats activate over 200 muscles."
What are your thoughts about wide squats?
Do Use Proper Form To Prevent Injuries
If you have knee pain, do consult a physician. If you are under the care of a physical therapist do discuss the proper form of the squat for your specific needs. Remember all of us are seeking simply to be the best version of ourselves, we are not all meant to be elite body builders (nor do many of even desire to take our body to that extreme). We must do the exercise properly for our fitness level.
Proper Form for the Squat Exercise
Proper Form for Squats - Hands Hips and Heels
Summary of Proper Form
- Technique is More Important Than Intensity
- Maintain Proper Form of Hands Hips and Heels
- Go As Low As Comfortable
Proper Form Begins with Shallow Squats
If you can bring your toes up, your heels are back and you are performing the squat correctly.
"As long as you can maintain your form, the lower the better." "You will get lower eventually."
Feel the difference in your quads as you turn your feet outward.
"Abs are in and chest is high."
100 Squat Challenge with Variations
Take the 100 Squat Challenge
If you are in good health and cleared by your physician, do take the 100 squat challenge.
Are you able to complete the 100 Squat Challenge?
My Favorite Squat - Wide with Barbell
Find Your Favorite Squat
Find your favorite squat and add it to your weekly exercise routine. Do try a variety of different squats and do know the list is not limited to 17 or 18 versions, the options for this essential exercise is just about endless. Do your research, do try a couple of different versions and I promise you - you will see the results you are seeking in increasing your muscle tone and metabolism.
In Support of the Wide Squat Stance for Those Plagued with Knee Pain
"For individuals with prior knee pain
The narrow stance squatters had forward knee movement of 4-6cm more than the wide stance squatters. This may imply that selecting a medium or wide stance squat may help reduce knee shear forces, which may be helpful for people who have had a knee injury previously."
Tiny Turtle Squat - A Little Bigger than a Match Box
Tiny Turtle Squat - Variation on the Squat - Slow, Wide and A Sure Winner
If you are just beginning, as a certified personal trainer, I would always start with wide and shallow squats that I nicknamed the tiny turtle. For this version, it is a very slow movement, very shallow but very effective in taking the time to feel the muscles that are engaged. The wide squat is exemplary at engaging the inner thigh muscles without any fancy equipment.
As the tiny turtle next to the match box details, this form of the squat exercise is meant to be engaging for the client who is brand new. It is simply an introduction to this great fundamental exercise.
Great Advice on Squats
- A Case for Wide Squats
Squat Stances at 150 percent of shoulder width have far more advantages over the traditional stance. Wider stances activate more muscles. The glutes are a tremendous developer of power and strength
- Four Great Squat Exercises | Socially Fit
Squat - Like Your Butt Depended On It Squat exercises are one of the best things you can do to tone your butt, hips and thighs. These are often the areas that women are most concerned with. By incorporating squats into your exercise routine, you can
- What's the better exercise? Squats vs Hack squats
This article will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both leg exercises, the regular squat and the hack squat.
One Leg Squat - Split Squat
30 Squats In Exchange for a Bus Ride
Would you do 30 squats for a free bus ride?
Share Your Exercise Program
Do you or will you add squats to your workout?
Squats Are Not Simple But They Are An Essential Exercise
As you can see, squats are not simple. You must first find the proper form that is right for you. Squats are an essential exercise that I feel all of us must incorporate into our weekly exercise program.
The Winter Olympics had a unique challenge for those seeking to ride the public transit bus. They offered a free ride to anyone who could perform 30 squats!
Take the squat challenge today and share with us your thoughts and experience with this essential exercise. Share with us what variety of squat you started with and have graduated to so far. We learn from each other so it is wonderful to hear each individual's experiences with exercise.