If I told you right now that simply sitting back burns more calories than most other movements, while also toning and tightening up your entire body, reducing overall body fat, protecting you from injury, improving balance, mobility, strength, flexibility and sports performance, would you believe me?
If you wouldn’t – well, who could really blame you. When you buy in to Too-Good-To-Be-True’s too quickly, you almost always get the chair pulled out from under you.
And if you would, then – well – prepare to get the chair pulled out from under you. Literally. Prepare to sit back. Without a chair under you.
It’s the good ol’ fashioned squat exercise. While this age-old exercise is normally thought of as just a “leg exercise,” the truth is that it’s actually one of the most powerful total-body exercises that you can incorporate into your workout routine. Not only does it do a great job of shaping up your back end (yes please!), but it also triggers an incredible fat burning effect across your entire body, while also improving your overall strength, tone and body shape.
The added bonus is that you don’t need any equipment to do squats. You can do them virtually anytime and anywhere, during a work break, while you watch television, or even in the ladies room (because who really wants to sit on an icky public washroom toilet seat anyway?).
Find out why squats are the perfect exercise for successful women’s weight loss, and learn how to perform a proper beginner’s basic squat to start burning fat and toning your muscles right now.
3 Reasons Why Squats Accelerate Women’s Weight Loss:
- Squats trigger fat loss all over your body. For women, the majority of our muscles lie below our hips. And developing your muscles is the most effective way to burn up more calories and fight off fat accumulation, both for now and in the future. While muscles weigh more than fat, they keep your metabolism buzzing all day long and incinerate fat all over your body, even while you’re sleeping. Experts estimate that every additional pound of muscle that you gain burns as many as 50 additional calories per day, while also re-shaping, toning and tightening your physique.
Squats work some of the largest muscle groups of your body all at once. They also get your heart rate up and can be so intense that they stimulate your body to produce more anabolic growth hormones, which promote better total-body muscle development when you train the rest of your body. Muscles also help to properly regulate your blood sugar levels, insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism, all of which protect you from obesity, diabetes and heart disease. This is why squats are a highly effective and time-efficient way of improving health, boosting metabolism and burning off fat from all areas of your body, including your arms, chest, tummy, buns and thighs.
- Squats are a functional exercise that help you in every-day life. Exercising your body isn’t just to look good at the gym. It’s important as a practical strategy to improve your every-day life, allowing you to comfortably do all the things you need and want to do in the real world.
Functional exercises improve your ability to perform every-day activities – like getting in and out of the car, playing in the yard with the kids, walking up the stairs, taking out the trash, moving a heavy box, or even enjoying an evening of dancing or an active sex life – while also helping to prevent pain and injuries. Squats strengthen and stabilize some of the most active and important muscles, joints and ligaments in your body, which helps you become more mobile, flexible and balanced. Functional exercises like squats not only help you perform a wider variety of activities with ease and smoothness, but they also train your body to move in more healthy and ergonomic ways, helping to prevent common injuries and chronic pain, especially as you age. Research shows that properly performed squats markedly improve knee stability and connective tissue.
- Squats target the areas women tend to be the most concerned about. Yearning to strut more confidently in those stream-lined jeans? A properly performed squat works both sides of your thighs, your buns, your calves, and the muscles of your core (abs and back), shrinking and sculpting the very places most women fondly know as “the problem areas.”
Squats also provide the perfect challenge for just about anyone, no matter your age or fitness level. Beginners can use the challenge of their own body weight as resistance, while intermediate and expert squatters can grab weights, bars, and other forms of resistance to up-the-ante and give their bodies a tougher challenge.
The real key to this exercise is performing it correctly, to avoid injury and to reap the full array of bulge-burning benefits that it offers when incorporated into your full-body weekly fitness routine.
How to Perform a Beginner’s Basic Squat:
Warm up. Get your heart pumping and your muscles moving with 5 – 10 minutes of a cardio exercise of your preference. This could be running in place, jumping jacks, jogging on a treadmill, etc.
- Stretch. Stretch the fronts and backs of your thighs (quadriceps and hamstrings), your buns and your calves, making sure to breathe in deeply before each stretch and to exhale deeply while performing the muscle stretch.
- Proper preparation stance. Spread your legs slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing slightly outwards (toes pointing away from each other). Make sure your body weight is in the heels of your feet (you should be able to slightly lift your toes off the floor while standing and still able to maintain your balance). Tighten your core muscles (abdominal and back muscles) by pulling your belly button in towards your spine while clenching your I-have-to-pee muscles. Keep your back in a straight, neutral position and don’t allow it to round out.
- Sit back to squat stance. Keeping your tummy tight, exhale while you stick your tush out behind you and bend your knees, as if you are sitting back into a chair. Take about 2 slow counts to bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor, and hold this squat position for 2 slow counts.
- Return to preparation stance. Taking another deep inhale and pressing through the bottoms of your heels, exhale as you squeeze your buns together and straighten your knees to stand back up into your starting stance, taking 2 slow counts to do so.
Beginners should perform 3 sets of 15 – 20 repetitions. This means that you should perform 15 to 20 squats, take a 1 to 2 minute break, perform 15 – 20 more, take a 1 to 2 minutes break, an then repeat 15 – 20 more squats a third time and rest. Do this whenever you have a chance to. Once you feel comfortable with this, increase the challenge level by holding a dumbbell in both hands while you squat, or squat while holding a weighted Olympic bar across the back of your upper shoulders. Be sure to continue breathing deeply throughout your workout, and keep your tummy muscles tight around your spine.