It’s rare that you’ll walk out of a Lomax session squat-free, so we’ve asked Jordan Lue, Personal Trainer and Performance Enhancement Specialist at Lomax Chelsea, to shed some light on the importance of the squat…
Type the word ‘Squat’ into any search engine and you’ll be met with endless articles and options. You will be likely met with the copious benefits of the squat. From ’30 Day Challenges’ to the latest celebrity parading their newly developed derrière, why do squats get so much press? Moreover, why squats above and beyond all others? We don’t seem to hear of the ’30 Day Jumping Jack Challenge’… So what’s so special?
Very early in my fitness journey and education, I neglected squats and similar movement patterns. Why? Simply because I didn’t know better and they were perceived to be hard. I mean who wants trashed knees and muscular soreness? Nobody, right? I’d now attribute this to fear mongering in the fitness world and ignorance. They do say that ‘ignorance is bliss’… but let’s look at the important benefits of the squat and what made me alter my view on the famed exercise. Maybe it can do something similar for you. Let’s go!
Seasoned gym-goers and even those who are relatively new to the gym will have probably come across this term. ‘Functional Training’ is typically seen as a modality of training that crosses over to real life performance. For example, if you are able to perform a competent and well skilled set of walking lunges, one would assume that your gait cycle (walking pattern) will also be competent and skilled without much variance between the two. Whilst that’s not set in stone, you can see the thought process behind the idea. We all know that the squat primarily targets the posterior part of the body (Posterior Chain) ie. the spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings and calves. By stimulating these muscles, we develop better strength, mobility and movement patterns. Squats can also induce heightened fat loss when performed at the right intensities and with a good diet to match.
Fat Loss & Body Composition
When squatting we tax our body greatly. Namely because so many muscles have to work in synergy to enable us to perform the movement efficiently and effectively. This can be broadly labelled as a ‘Compound Exercise’. We typically have compound exercises and isolation exercises. Compound exercises work multiple joints at any given time, whereas isolation exercises work a single joint at a time. It’s not rocket science to figure out that the compound exercise will give you the most bang for your buck. In terms of fat loss and body composition, most trainers and gyms have endorsed the importance of compound exercises as a means of aesthetic improvement. Coupled with a sharp diet and diligent work in the gym, with the inclusion of squats you too can work your way to a better looking body. And who doesn’t want to look good on a sun-laden beach with a cocktail they don’t feel guilty about having?
Mobility should not be confused with flexibility. Flexibility is the muscles’ ability to passively lengthen through the desired ROM (Range of Motion). Mobility, however, is the ability to move a joint actively through the desired ROM. As flexibility looks solely at the length of a muscle, reversibility often occurs, usually leaving you 3/4″ short from the golden gates of being able to touch your toes. Mobility takes a more global approach, looking at the nervous system, the joint, the joint capsule and any muscles that cross the said joint. In the case of squatting, this relates to the musculature of the hips. That 10 second stretch you apply may feel nice, but there’s more to the story than that. We’ve all spent forever trying to touch our toes, but how many of us are there? Through diligent programming of the nervous system, you can enhance mobility and simultaneously enhance your squat pattern. All in all, this will further your fitness journey.
General Physical Preparedness (GPP)
Training as a whole requires an objective look at our physical capabilities for a given demand. SAID principle (Specific Adaptations by Imposed Demands) talks about the fact you will get what you train for. So if you train for a better squat, you will (eventually) get a better squat, provided the variables addressed are looked after properly. The squat has many derivatives which cross over into a multitude of other movements and exercises, thus improving your GPP. Improved GPP means improving your ability to open to the door to more complex movements and in turn will yield better returns in your physical development.
I hope that with some insight into the squat, you’ll be able to apply more to your routines and get amazing results. Happy Squatting!
Lomax Chelsea offers a wide range of services tailored to meet your every fitness needs. If you’ve haven’t trained before or have never tried Personal Training, the Lomax 360 YOU Assessment is a complimentary one-on-one session with one of the highly skilled Lomax Personal Trainers to assess your fitness levels, for and help begin your fitness journey. Call 020 7352 0598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a complimentary 360 YOU Assessment.