It is the most basic human movement there is. Our ancestors squatted a lot. Every activity in the olden days from hunting to cooking to transporting food required one to be able to squat. Considering how all the cushy ass-support (aka chairs) is a very recent phenomenon, back in the day, the squat position is how people relaxed (called Asian squat). And for the last hundred thousand years, human babies learnt to squat before they learnt to walk.
Squatting imbibes strength and mobility. A properly performed squat is one in which the squatter sinks so low that his butt almost touches the ground and stands up without losing core stability or balance. Training to perform squats helps improve strength, mobility and balance, which are all aspects of fitness.
Squats are the most compound of exercises. Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that use multiple muscles and are the most effective exercises if you are looking for fat loss, strength or athletic development. From the muscles behind your ears to the ones on your toes, the squat works on more than 300 muscles. It helps release Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a critical hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and regeneration in humans.
Saturated fat is not bad for you, abdomen work does not burn belly fat and Santa is not real. Deal with it.
Squats don’t hurt your knees. Not one bit. Not if you do them right. Realize that the only way to strengthen a joint is by strengthening the muscles around it (and that is what your physio or trainer means when he says you need to strengthen a particular joint). When done right, squatting works the muscles around your knees (anterior and posterior) and strengthens the knee joint and protects the knees.
When done wrong, it causes muscular imbalances which eventually hurt. So take the little time that is required to learn how to squat properly and incorporate it into your regimen.
Squats literally make you as strong as a bull. The truth is by working the most muscles and forcing your body to secrete the growth hormone and by strengthening your joints, muscles, bones, ligaments and cartilage the squat is the one exercise that makes you real strong. It should come as no surprise that every strong person squats regularly – be it a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, an athlete a sprinter, or people doing manual labor but we still fail to realize the importance of this exercise and think that tobuilding mass muscle requires huge pieces of equipment stocked in a fancy gymnasium.
Sitting kills. Squatting resurrects. It almost negates all the sitting. Sitting is the smoking of this generation and we have reams of research proving how sitting is the worst activity in this time and age. Due to compromised posture while sitting, most people end up with tight quadriceps (front thigh), hip flexors and adductors (inner thigh) and weak and lax hamstrings and gluteus (back thigh). This paired with the exaggerated slouching and back rounding causes postural asymmetries and muscular imbalances that affect health and fitness in more ways than one.
Squats ensure posterior chain (hamstring and gluteus) activation by forcing the upper body to be straight and taut, which helps in negating some of the effects of prolonged sitting. It shapes your bottom and gives your pathetic skinny legs some size too. Squat works your legs better than any bosu ball and gives you wheels that Hummers envy. So next time someone tries to sell you some cool new training tool or tries to trick you into buying the next fitness fad, do yourself a favor – shut (him) up and squat!