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August Squat Challenge

Posted Aug 04 2014 12:07pm

This month I’m challenging you to do as many squats as possible in the time allotted. You will start with 1 minute of squats and by the end of the month, work up to 4 minutes of squats. Sound challenging? Yes! It will be.

Benefits of doing Squats (information provided via Peak Fitness) Read the entire post by Dr. Mercola

1. Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body

Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.

In fact, when done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.

So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.

2. Functional Exercise Makes Real-Life Activities Easier

Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform real-life activities, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment. Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, as humans have been squatting since the hunter-gatherer days. When you perform squats, you build muscle and help your muscles work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more efficiently in the real world too.

3. Burn More Fat

One of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories is actually to gain more muscle! For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.

4. Maintain Mobility and Balance

Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength. They also work out your core, stabilizing muscles, which will help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls – which is incidentally the #1 way to prevent bone fractures versus consuming mega-dose calcium supplements and bone drugs.

5. Prevent Injuries

Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. They also help prevent injury by improving your flexibility (squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance, as noted above.

6. Boost Your Sports Performance — Jump Higher and Run Faster

Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a mom who chases after a toddler, you’ll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability. 1 Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete’s training program.

7. Tone Your Backside, Abs and Entire Body

Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it’s an excellent multi-purpose activity useful for toning and tightening your behind, abs, and, of course, your legs. Furthermore, squats build your muscles, and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

8. Help with Waste Removal

Squats improve the pumping of body fluids, aiding in removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands. They’re also useful for improved movement of feces through your colon and more regular bowel movements.

Muscles Worked during the Squat

Muscles worked during squats

Illustration courtesy, www.nobrainermuslce.com

(explanation provided courtesy of Livestrong.com) Read the full post

Core: Core is the term used to describe the muscles that support your spine, specifically your rectus abdominis, erector spinae, obliques and transversus abdominis. When you perform weighted squats, these muscles must work hard to ensure your lumbar spine is held in the right position and that your lower back does not round. A strong core is essential for heavy squats, as it can help prevent injury.

Hamstrings: Located on the back of your thigh and running from the base of your pelvis to just below the back of your knee, your hamstrings are responsible for controlling hip extension when you squat. There are three muscles that make up the hamstrings: biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. Working together, they act as a brake as you descend and then powerfully contract to extend your hip and help you stand back up. Tight hamstrings can result in a rounding of your lower back, so flexibility is important as well as strength.

Gluteus Maximus: Your gluteus maximus is a large and powerful muscle that does a lot of work when you squat. Located on the back of your hip and essentially your butt, your gluteus maximus works with your hamstrings and controls your hip. Like your hamstrings, your glutes help control your descent and are then involved in extending your hips to push you back upward. Squats are an effective butt-building exercise.

Quadriceps: Located on the front of your thigh and running from your hip to below your knee, your quadriceps are your primary knee extensor muscles. Known as the quads for short, four muscles make up your quadriceps: rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and vastus medialis. These muscles are the ones you are most likely to feel after a high-rep set of squats.

Additional Muscles: While there are a number of primary muscles involved in squatting, there are also several secondary muscles that help make this exercise possible. The muscles on the inside and outside of your hips and thighs, your adductors and abductors, work to ensure your knees track over your feet and do not swing inward or outward. Your upper-body muscles must also work very hard to hold and support the barbell on the front or back of your shoulders — depending on whether you perform front or back squats. While squats are normally classed as a leg exercise, so many muscles are involved in a secondary capacity that squats are almost a whole-body exercise.

Watch closely, Even a baby can do them

Image credit: www.ilifttherforiam.blogspot.com

So make sure you are performing them properly, so that you avoid any injuries, especially to your knees!

Image courtesy: forums.webmd.com

Image courtesy: forums.webmd.com

So that you won’t miss an opportunity to participate in the challenge, I’m going to post the daily workouts to my Facebook page AND I’m setting them up to post first thing in the morning at 7:00am EST, then again at 12noon EST and one last time at 6:00pm EST daily. Be sure to Like my Facebook page so you’ll get the daily updates.

As for timing your squats, you can use the timer on your Gym Boss app ( iTunes | Android )or the actual Gym Boss device or just watch the clock. It all works!

Once you’ve completed the allotted time for the squats, proceed directly to the cardio part of the workout, which is also explained in the daily posts.

Once you complete the workout let me know by leaving a comment on the workout you did or by simply “Liking” it.

Good Luck!

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