“Squat” means to squat in English. This exercise therefore starts with a movement of flexion / extension of the knees, as for squatting or sitting on a chair. “It’s an interesting move because it is simple, complete and makes several muscle chains of the lower body work without equipment“, explains Magali Ducasse, physiotherapist.
What are the virtues of squats?
Muscle your legs
This exercise uses all of the legs: quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh) and even adductors (inside of the thigh) on some wide squats. “It’s important because strong legs facilitate all daily movements : walk, climb stairs … and save your back because you can bend your knees and squat to pick up or lift something instead of rolling your back forward “, specifies the physiotherapist.
Have more toned buttocks
Squats work different muscles of the buttocks, in particular the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius, in order to have less “sagging” and more plump buttocks. For this, some variations of squats, especially with rubber bands and then spreading the knees once down, are particularly recommended.
Strengthen your back
In the squat movement, we incline and keep your back straight at about 45 ° : “It calls on the dorsolumbar muscles, those of the lower and middle back. It is interesting to avoid back pain”, indicates Magali Ducasse.
Protect your knees
By strengthening all the muscles around the knee, squats reduce the pressure on the joint and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis or even sprained certain movements. “But beware, poorly done squats can also promote wear and tear on the kneecap and tendonitis ! “warns the physiotherapist
What is the right position for squats?
Toe tips open to the outside, we push the buttocks down and back as if to squat or sit on a chair far behind you.
In this position, and if we do not use loads, “series of 10 to 15 movements draw the muscles of the thighs without inflating them”, reassures Magali Ducasse.
The knees do not go beyond the tips of the toes when going down, the weight of the body is more on the heels than on the toes. Heels must remain anchored in the ground throughout the exercise.
Squats: what mistakes to avoid?
- “Snap” the knees while going up: we stretch the legs without sudden movement and not to the maximum.
- Rounding your lower back and leaning too far forward : the back remains straight, we stretch the head towards the sky while going down.
- Bring the knees together on the way down : they must remain in line with the feet, above the ankles.
- Go down too low and go too fast : at home, if we manage to have the thighs at 90 ° with the calves, it’s already very good, no need to go down any more, because this wears out the joint. In a coaching session, follow your teacher’s instructions and do not hesitate to point out any pain.
How often to do squats?
At least 3 times a week, alone or in addition to other exercises of muscle building.
Heels must remain anchored in the ground throughout the exercise.
thanks to Anouk Garnier, our sports coach.