It is no secret that many variations of the squat exist. Being the most engaging compound lift available, squats have evolved to incorporate most types of workouts to allow everyone to be able to perform this powerful exercise. No matter your shape, size, strength or ability, there should be a variation of the squat that you can add to your routine. In this article, we'll be going over proper squatting techniques of different styles, as well as explain the benefits and possible detriments of squatting in an improper form.
- Proper Squatting Techniques
- Asian Squat Vs Western Squat
- Zercher Squat Vs Front Squat
- Slav Squat Vs Asian Squat
Benefits Of Squatting In Proper Form
Squats are dynamic and require most of your body's muscles to perform, forcing them to coordinate and strengthen simultaneously. Many of the muscles strengthened by squats help you throughout your daily life in walking upright, climbing up stairs, flexibility when bending and carrying heavier loads without damaging your back. Squats also help your athletic prowess immensely. The squats work your buttocks, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductor, hip flexors, calves, core, spinal muscles, shoulders, arms, back and chest.
Attention: Only go as low as you can comfortably go. Going any lower will risk damaging your knees and hips. Make sure to have a solid base, keep your eyes forward and maintain your posture. If the load is heavy, remember to activate your core to help you lift and release pressure from your shoulders and back.
Asian Squat Vs Western Squat
Asian Squat: The Asian squat is an extremely deep squat named after the common position of people in Asian culture position themselves in their daily life (eating, reading and relaxing). This squat is usually done without weight as it is more of a flexible exercise rather than a strengthening one.
To perform an Asian squat, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and point your feet forward, slowly lowering yourself into a squat. Keep your back upright and your heels on the floor. Your buttocks should be touching or just off the ground for this deep squat. This exercise is great for mobility and flexibility of the hips, ankles and calves. Add a barbell or bar on your back to increase the difficulty.
Western Squat: The Western squat isn't really a technique, it is just named so in contrast to the Asian squat. It is characterized as being more of a shallow squat, reflecting the fact that westerners do not relax in squatting positions and are usually more inflexible than their Asian counterparts without proper training.
To perform a Western squat: this is your standard squat position that you may have seen at the gym, crossfit, or even in the park. Begin in the squat position, feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward and heels on the floor. Squat down until you feel comfortable and recover your position. Add barbells, weights or dumbbells to increase difficulty.
Zercher Squat Vs Front Squat
Zercher Squat: The Zercher squat is a variation that targets more of your upper back, quads and core. It is primarily used to build functional strength and is a go-to exercise for strongman athletes and powerlifters.
To perform a Zercher squat: this requires a barbell, plates and a squat rack or smith machine. The barbell will be sitting on the inside of your bent arms instead of your shoulders, so it is recommended to wear a long-sleeve shirt or even some barbell padding. Start by placing the barbell in the crease of the elbow of your bent arms and clasp your hands together tightly. Get into a regular squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward and heels on the floor. Squat as normal and let your elbows briefly rest on your knees. Repeat.
Front Squat: this move is used by powerlifters as a preparation for the iconic "clean and jerk" movement you may have seen during Olympic or powerlifting competitions.
To perform a Front squat: the motion is the same as a regular squat that we have mentioned previously, with the only difference being the setup. Secure the bar in the squat rack and level it in the middle of your chest. Hold the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-wdith and step in close to position the bar on top of your chest and in front of the shoulders. Bring your elbows forward and up as high as possible and keep your body upright when removing the bar off of the rack.
Slav Squat Vs Asian Squat
Slav Squat: The Slav squat is the exact same as the Asian squat, just nicknamed differently for the iconic region. See Asian squat above on how to perform this variation.
How to squat on smith machine?
Squatting with a smith machine isn't any different than a regular rack. Position yourself as normal, with feet shoulder-width apart and perform a squat. You may find this exercise easier on your knees as the smith machine assists slightly in holding the barbell.
Do squats make your butt bigger?
Yes. Squats are the ultimate compound exercise, engaging your core, legs, gluteus, back, shoulders and neck. This would contribute to a larger butt.
How many squats should I do in a day?
For strength training, 3 sets of 5 reps. Conditioning: 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Setting personal records (PB) would be 2-3 sets of 1 rep. If attempting to load an increased amount of weight, it is recommended to wear a powerlifting belt.
Are squats bad for your knees?
Squats are extremely dangerous for your knees without the proper form. Squats engage your back and legs, with most of the weight shifting to your back. If you lean forward, you risk damaging your knee ligaments if done too often.
Can I squat the day after deadlifts?
Deadlifts are the second-most engaging compound lift that can be done at the gym, after squats, and work many complementary muscles. If doing a strength routine, both compound lifts can be done on the same day. However, they should be spaced out by three days in a regular routine to allow the muscles to recuperate.