Lifting and toning is one of the many goals of fitness professionals. One of the most effective exercises is the squat. Next to the sit-ups and climbing the stairs, the squat is a fundamental exercise but alas it is often left only in the fitness routine of the elite body builder. Squats really should be for all of us. Even if our health goals are simply health, squats offer more than just good looks for our rear end, they also help build the quadriceps and leg muscles that help us with functional fitness. Additionally and for some like myself, the real beauty of the squat is not our rear end, but help with preventing pain in our knees.
Squats target tone the gluteus minimus muscle in our buttocks and also our quadriceps in our legs. If we need a lift in our derriere, the squat is one of the best exercises to incorporate in our fitness routine.
Getting tone is difficult but if we can readily see the end goals and set a daily list of exercises to achieve them, we can motivate ourselves and our fitness clients to achieve greatness.
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.
Squats Can Alleviate Knee Pain
After years of struggling with knee pain, I took up fitness and became a certified personal trainer. I learned in both through fitness coursework at the college and also through personal trial and error, the many benefits of squats and how this exercise has saved my health and my knees. I have no desire for the famous JoLo buttock but I do have a strong desire to prevent knee replacement and to avoid knee pain - that is the real reason behind my passion for the squat (sorry for the pun - just couldn't help it!).
What I have found that works for me is gentle, wide squats. It is a version of the squat that is not commonly taught or promoted. It is contrary to weightlifting and seeking a deep, traditional squat but it is a squat and it is perfectly modified for my specific needs.
Famous Rear Ends Recently In the News
Recently, some rear ends have been in the headlines. From Beyonce to J. Lo, the anatomy of the celebrities' back side has been the topic of choice. From the photo below you can clearly see why.
Your Legs Are Not Giving Out
Your Head is Giving Out
A squat is the foundation of all fitness programs.
The Knees Have The First and Last Word
"Not squatting is bad for the knees."
"Half squats produce half the results."
Your View on Squats
Beauty and Function Too - Squats Protect the Knees
Presented here are a variety of different Squat Challenge Posters extending typically for four weeks or 30 days. Each of these posters, I find motivating but only with my version of the squat - wide and gentle (not deep). If the traditional squat suits you I encourage you to use that version. If you find yourself with knee pain, do stop and consult a doctor. If your doctor approves so give the wide and gentle squat a try. For you see, we need squats in order to function day to day. Squat are essentially a functional exercise that gets from point A to point B and takes us from sitting to standing.
Our knees are one of the most precious points in our body and if we can effectively build the muscle around our knees, we can lessen the pain.
About me, no surgery and I have found when I faithfully follow through with my wide and gentle squats daily I experience no knee pain. Yes, someday I know I will need knee surgery like my grandmother before me but for now I am happy and healthy and wish the same for you.
Check out the many different squat challenge posters, learn about the many different types of squats and their individual benefits. See firsthand the muscle groups that protect our knees and learn about the muscles that squats work for us. Building muscle is more about function than beauty but if we can stop the pain, our face will show the joy. I encourage you to find your reason for daily exercise and I hope these posters and information provide you with the resources you need to either begin your journey or refresh and revitalize your fitness routine.
"When you have one of those days when you feel a big weight on your shoulders, just do squats."
1 CDC Faststats - http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/insurg.htm
2 Academic Emergency Medicine report Ehttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1553-2712.2012.01315.x/pdf
Knee Injury Statistics
In 2010, in the United States there were 719,000 total knee replacements.1 From 1998 through 2008, the Academic Emergency Medicine, the arm of the hospital emergency rooms, reported 6.6 million knee injuries coming through the ER. 2
The figures for knee injuries are simply staggering. Everyone knows someone who is suffering or has suffered from a knee injury.
Muscles Engaged with Squats
Thighs, hamstrings and glutes
200 Muscles Are Engaged in the Squat Exercise
Our human body has over 640 muscles and yet when we perform the squat, get this - we are engaging 200 muscles! Squats are a powerhouse exercise that packs a mighty punch. If you wish to take your fitness routine to a new level, change up and increase the number of repetitions of squats.
Squats are not boring because there are so many possible variations as we have shown. Squats offer one of the best if not the best functional exercises available to us.
Squats are superb for your fitness program.
Squats will make you shine.
Glute Muscles Engaged in the Squat
The buttock or the glute is comprised of:
What is the Gluenus Minimus
Funny Verses Elegant Squat Posters
OK, just in case I have caught you dozing off - wake up! The next two posters are simply polar opposites and comprise a funny poster of the anatomy of a squat with a girl in a ridiculous outfit complete with clown orange colored tights followed by one of the most elegant posters of squats of a beautiful ballerina like brunette performing the squats and leg lift.
So if you feel like the clown orange girl so be it - once you complete the squat challenge, you will feel and look like the elegant ballerina brunette. How can I say that without any compromise? Because exercise does that - it changes your body, it changes your outlook and it gives an inner glow.
Anatomy of the Squat - Shown in Colorful Clown Orange Tights and Also in Elegant Blue
Squats Make You Shine
Squats have the power to make you shine - from the inside out. Squats are guaranteed to change your metabolism, your resting heart rate and sculpt and tone your legs and your glutes. Squats make your body look svelte and make you shine.
Don't Skip Squats
"Don't skip squats - they burn more calories per rep than most any other move."
Anatomy of the Squat
Working out with proper form will ensure you engage the right muscles but more importantly, it will ensure you avoid potential injuries. As the poster above showcases, proper form is mandatory and includes:
- Shoulders Together
- Ribs In (Abs Tucked In)
- Tailbone Un-tucked
- Knees Behind Your Toes
- Weight on Your Heels
100 Squat Challenge Video
100 Squat Challenge Video
If you are not completely ready for this - that is OK, do what you can daily and return to increase the number of repetitions and intensity levels.
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
30 Day Squat Challenge Posters
To kick start your motivation to begin a 30 day squat challenge fitness program, check out the many different squat challenge posters. Print one or more of these posters and perform daily as directed.
Squat Challenge Posters
Do's and Don'ts of the Squat Challenge
- Do Any New Exercise Program With Your Physician
- Do Start Your Program With What Is Right For You
- Do Share Your Challenge With Others
- Do Stay Dedicated and Remain With the Program
- Do Incorporate Changes to Your Diet
- Do Incorporate Cardiovascular Exercise
- Do Use Proper Form
- Don't Jump Start the Program and Burn Out Quickly
- Don't Squat If You Feel Pain
Proper Form is the Key
No matter the type of squat you choose, remember, proper form for the squat is the key. Preventing injuries is critical to all fitness programs. Health is about an effective exercise program free of injury.
Do watch and listen to the videos with special attention to the position of the body. Do study the anatomy of the squat and before you even begin know the placement of knee verses your toe is critical. Our knees are a miraculous joint but an important part of our body to take special care.
If you don't understand the anatomy of the squat, wait to try this exercise when a fitness professional is on hand to guide you. If you do understand the proper form, if you don't feel any pain, do proceed and take the squat challenge and see if you can shine.
24 Various Types of Squats
Bulgarian Dumbell Squat
Pistol Plyometric Squat
Prisoner Siff Squat
Exercise Tutorial - Wide Squat
Wide Squat Video
This video showcases the proper form for the wide squat which will engage your inner thighs as well as your glutes.
Why I Prefer the Wide Squat
Why might you ask do I prefer the wide squat? Why do I prefer the sissy or half squat? Because I want to go only as low as my knees will allow. I know the value of the muscle around my knees and I want to safely build that muscle without any rehabilitating injuries.
Wide squats are safer and more effective. We must start with reasonable goals and most of the population is simply not ready for traditional and deep squats. Set attainable goals and increase your goals and your intensity gradually over time for the best results ever!
Favorite Squat Challenge Video with Carly Rae Jepson
OK, I dare you - I simply dare you to tell me this is not the single best motivational video to take your squat challenge by. Carly Rae Jepson is high energy and a fantastic instructor. If you need to kick start your squat challenge, you must see and follow along with this video.
Carly doesn't shout but you feel her energy in this simple squat exercise routine that demonstrates 10 different types of squats. Yes, you will feel new muscles - that I can guarantee you.
Take the challenge and see if you can keep up with Carly in this video. Kill your butt and your thighs to high energy music. "You will have a great booty."
Squat Challenge - Motivational Instructor Carly Rae Jepson
Squat and Plie Challenge led by fitness instructor Cassey Ho to Call me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson.
Plie' Squat Challenge
One of My Top Two Exercises
Squats combined with stairs would be my first choice for an exercise routine to lose weight and tone with noticeable results.
These two exercises don't need fancy equipment or gym membership, all they need is your personal perseverance and dedication to make your dream come true.
Remember, all fitness programs need to be customized and every new exercise program should be reviewed with your physician.
Take the squats challenge today and pick a program or design a fitness program that is right for you today.
© 2014 Kelly A Burnett
Kelly A Burnett (author) from United States on February 26, 2014:
I am told that all bodybuilders are obsessed with squats and rightfully so - if we understand the dramatic squats can offer us. Interesting, if you listen to your body even after a couple of set of squats, your muscles will talk to you - that is the beauty of squats, an active conversation with some of our largest and longest muscle groups.
Tarrin Lupo from Peterborough NH on February 12, 2014:
I have some friends obsessed with squats, i will pass it on.
Kelly A Burnett (author) from United States on February 09, 2014:
Wall sits are a great exercise. You are proof that all of us, even those struggling with severe knee pain can do some modification of the squat.
Personally, I hear about the deep squats and I have read the research and I admire those who can attack the deep squats successfully but deep squats are for a rare few elite athletes.
Tiny, shallow squats are where most of us need to begin our routine - under a physician's review of course.
Thank you so much for sharing. I hope people read your comments and personal experience so we can all gain a better understanding of the affects of exercise on joint pain.
SaraAnn6 on February 09, 2014:
My cousin is doing this as part of her exercise routine! She is such a beast at it too! lolz. I have a knee injury that prevents me from successfully doing squats without hurting myself. Instead I do wall sits and flex like crazy for like a million minutes. Obviously not really that long. but I do extra work with wall sits and some physical therapy exercises for my knee.
Kelly A Burnett (author) from United States on February 09, 2014:
I completely agree. The squat is a fantastic exercise but a combination of exercises is always best. The exercises you choose should be customized for your needs and desires. The squat is an essential exercise but just as we have learned to eat a colorful plate of food so that our nutrition is rich in fruits and vegetables and therefore rich in vitamins, so too, we need to design a plateful of exercises that meet your specific needs.
What is critical is to understand the importance of the squat for the protection of the needs and for daily, functional movements. How we perform the squat should be designed for individual fitness level.
Thank you so much for stopping by and contributing - you provided some great complimentary exercises.
Linkya from Hanoi, Vietnam on February 09, 2014:
I think that squat is amazing exercise to shape butt and have strong legs. However squat alone is not enough. Glute exercises are proved to be necessary exercise when it comes to butt shaping. Glute exercise I found great is bridge, hip thrust, bottom-up single leg hip thrust, reverse lunges.