What are Squats?
Squats are one of the most effective ways to get a total lower body workout. Not only do they work out the butt, hips, and thighs, but they can also be done with no weights or other equipment — at any given time or location. So why not try one right now?
To do a common squat, stand with your feet at hips’ width apart, holding in your abdominal muscles. (Your hands can be either held out front or on either side of your hips.) Slowly lower your body downward as if you were going to sit in a chair. Stop when your legs are at a 90 degree angle to the floor, hold for a few seconds, then slowly return to a standard position. Voila! You have done a squat. Repeat this movement for two to three sets of eight to 12 reps each with a minute or so of rest between intervals, and you have a new strengthening and toning addition to your workout routine.
Benefits of Squats
Squats have multiple benefits. In addition to toning the legs and lifting and tightening the glutes, they also strengthen the back and support a flatter tummy by engaging the core. Because the motion used while squatting replicates motions you use every day, squats are also an extremely efficient way to build functional fitness, particularly when you factor in that squatting increases joint flexibility of the ankles, knees, and hips.
The takeaway? Squats do not just enhance your workout; they have the potential to enhance your everyday life — but only if you do them correctly. As with all forms of exercise, technique matters — both for maximizing effectiveness and minimizing the risk of injury — so sign up for a personal trainer session to ensure that your form is on point.
Tips for Seaside Squatting
There are some things to keep in mind if you will be taking your squat workout seaside.
- For starters, even if you are not at the gym, it’s still important to stretch and warmup before working out.
- Also, working out in the great outdoors has different challenges than working out inside. On sunny days, make sure to apply sunscreen vigorously, cover up with protective clothing, and pack plenty of water to ensure hydration.
- Just because squats require no extra equipment does not mean you cannot take things to the next level by increasing the intensity of your squats. Bringing your weights to the beach turns the stroll there into a workout of its own. Or, swap out your usual dumbbells for water bottles or buckets filled with sand.
- Furthermore, in addition to the basic squat, a number of squat variations exist which can spice up your workout and lead to even bigger benefits. These include curtsy squats, oblique squats, top tap squats, surrender squats, and single leg squats.
What is the best part of taking your workout to the beach? You may see even bigger benefits, since working out on shifting sand can tax muscles more than on a stable surface. As fitness instructor Reese Ryzewski told The Northwest Indiana Times:
“The sand is on different levels, and you have to adjust to that difference, which brings a new element to the pose. It also removes the issue of the hard surface on your knees. When you kneel on your mat laid over the sand, your joints are cushioned. The heat from the sand is also relaxing to the muscles.”
There is one caveat, however. Working out on sand can also be more strenuous than working out on a gym floor or pavement, so working up to it is important. Start preparing to build your body — even while on vacation — by signing up for a trial pass at Brick Bodies today.