Most of us focus on the upper body while working out. Yes, it is important, but so is your lower body. Whether it is walking or getting up from a chair, your lower body helps you a lot. We all sit for long, especially if we have a desk job. If not a chair, we are either slouching on the couch or on the bed. But we eventually have to stand back up, and that’s why exercise for the lower body is a must. The squat is an effective as well as versatile exercise for your lower body. Squats are great for your legs and glutes, and can help in making daily activities easier. A basic squat is really effective, but there is much more you can do around it. An expert shares squat variations for strength.
Health Shots reached out to fitness guru Aminder Singh of Team Aminder fame to know what all variations of squats can be done.
Benefits of squats
Squats allow people to handle their body weight more effectively, says Singh. It is a highly functional exercise that helps with various movements like getting up from a bed, chair or car. A squat engages the ankle, knee, and hip joints, making it essential for strengthening the lower body. Squats are particularly effective in improving knee, hip, and ankle stability.
Squat variations to build strength
To do the basic squat, you just need to stand with feet shoulder-width apart and squat down while keeping your back straight. You can also try out these variations of squats:
1. Sumo squat
You will have to stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, with your toes turned out, and then squat down. That’s sumo squat for you.
2. Goblet squat
You can perform the basic squat while holding a dumbbell in front of your chest, says the expert.
3. Overhead squat
This time, you need to hold a barbell overhead while performing the basic squat.
4. Heel raised squat
Perform the basic squat with your heels elevated on a platform, and that’s the heel raised squat.
5. Box squat
All you have to do is add a box below you while you do the basic squat.
6. Wall squat or wall sit
If you can do yoga against a wall, you can also use it to do a squat! You just have to stand with your back against a wall. Then step your feet away from the wall and bend your knees to drop into a squat. Make sure your back is pinned to the wall throughout the moves.
All these squat variations target the muscles in the lower body, primarily focusing on the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, says Singh. The choice of variation depends on individual factors like ankle and hip mobility and body proportions.
Tips for squats
Squat variations help to improve functional ability by increasing overall strength. They allow people to handle not just their body weight more effectively, but also additional weight if they wish. By targeting key muscle groups and enhancing joint stability, squats help to improve overall body strength, balance, and coordination.
But if you have lower back pain, knee pain, or limited ankle flexibility, try not to perform squats. It is important to prioritize your safety and avoid exercises that might exacerbate existing conditions or cause discomfort. That’s why consulting with a doctor or fitness trainer can help to determine suitable alternatives or modifications for those who should have to avoid squats.