Why Should I do Bodyweight Squats For Weight Loss?

If there is one exercise that I consider a MUST in any muscle building or even weight loss routine, it's squats. Without any doubt, squats is the king of not only leg exercises but of all exercises and for several good reasons. Squats is a powerful compound exercise, a great muscle mass builder and also a strength training exercise. In addition to building muscle mass and strength, it will also send your fat-burning metabolism through the roof which will help you burn excess calories and lose weight. So overweight and obese people can benefit from this exercise. Squats are also a demanding exercise which will exhaust your entire body and making you sweat a lot meaning you'll burn a great amount of fat. This is why many people will reserve only squats for a particular training day since it's physically and mentally draining.

Furthermore, squats have been proven to increase testosterone levels even if it's just temporary. Having a release of testosterone and anabolic hormones in your bloodstream would mean more muscle mass gains and more muscle mass will trigger a faster metabolism which in turn will kick your fat burning furnace into high gear. Why I consider squats to be the true king of all exercises is that the number of muscle groups it solicits is simply amazing. Here is a list:

Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, abdominal core, calves and upper back(trapezius).

Since squats is a compound exercise, it will target some muscle groups more than the others. The primary muscle groups are quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and lower back while the secondary muscle groups are the calves, upper back and abdominal core. So in a way, you get an indirect workout for those secondary muscle groups which will be used mostly for stabilization of your body or the squat barbell. Squats can be done either with your own bodyweight or with a barbell in the squat rack. By starting with your own bodyweight, you can practise this exercise and get the technique right. Even with just your bodyweight, you can have a tremendous workout.

Here is how to perform a proper squat:

(1) Stand with legs apart about 45 cms and hands crossed behind your head.

(2) Lower your body slowly till your quadriceps are parallel to the floor while keeping your back straight and face up. Keeping a straight back is very important to prevent injury. Don't incline your legs outwards as well.

(3) Raise your body slowly till starting position. It's important not to jump up but rather concentrate in feeling your leg muscles working out.

Try 4 sets of 25 repeats and your legs will already be on fire. Performing squats can be a real challenge mostly when the lactic acid starts to burn and it becomes a daunting task to complete the last grueling repeats in the set. Not many people will go through this lactic acid burn but enduring it would mean a great workout and nice muscle gains. After you master the bodyweight squats, you can venture into the barbell squats. You might need a weight belt to protect your lower back. Try 4 sets of 10 repeats and use medium to heavy weights.

If you're not performing squats, you're missing out a lot in your quest for weight loss. Doing a compound exercise like squats along with your regular cardio workout will accelerate your weight loss process and yield faster results.

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