The Anatomy of the Squat
I chose to wrap 2018 up by talking about my favourite exercise, the Squat. Many people enjoy squatting because they enjoy the aesthetic of having more developed buttocks and hamstrings. However, benefits of squatting include working and strengthening your entire abdominal area, gluteal muscle, hamstrings, adductors and quads. This one exercise, performed correctly, can strengthen your entire body and can help you achieve an impressive muscular physique. It is for this reason that it is my favourite exercise.
Being a vegan has not affected my performance of the Squat, which is my ultimate favourite move on leg day, it is all the more a good reason why I enjoy sharing tips on correct squat form. A correctly performed squat can work the entire core while boosting your overall body composition and strength. Incorrect squat posture is responsible for herniated discs which can cause injury that can prevent further workouts.
Thus, I recommend emphasis on form and the practice of deep belly breathing and core tightening as you descend into the squat position. This technique of tightening your core and chest will help you by protecting your chest from falling, this type of information is meant to help improve your performance at the gym, regardless of whether you are a beginner or advanced lifter.
Below we have the anatomy of the muscles being used when a squat is performed correctly.
The Squat targets the following muscles:
- The Quads
- Gluteal Muscle
- Abdominal Muscles
The effect of going Vegan on my Squat Strength :
I find that my overall performance at the gym while being on a vegan diet has changed but not in a significant way. I still am able to continue performing and developing my body just as I did before my transition, while having a healthier micro-biome and conscience.
I would have to emphasise that the main difference seems to me being having to remind myself to stay positive and motivated about my strength as I workout. When I am squatting, for instance, I am still as strong, I do however need to remind myself that as a vegan, I can also have just as much strength as I did before when I was consuming meat, even though it will feel different. The energy level I have as a vegan is “lighter”, and I have to eat more frequently especially after I work out. These differences, however do not seem to be affecting the amount of muscle I have or my performance in a significant way.
I chose to write about the squat because one of my resolutions for the year 2019 is to get stronger and squat heavier. Thus, I find closing off 2018 with an article with squat tips to be appropriate for my long-lasting love affair with the squat.
How to perform the Squat correctly
Correct form includes squatting with both of your thighs being parallel to the floor, with a strong chest and tight core. Remember that one must not forget to breath as they perform the squat.
The squat is important for any training program and should always be done in proper form to prevent injury. This means you do not curve the spine as you squat down to the floor. You should be contracting your strong core and chest throughout the movement and focus on your heels to drive up while maintaing parallel thighs as you shoot back up from your starting position. Visualising yourself as you are doing this, imagining as though you are about to sit on the floor.
One must be slow and mindful as they contract the muscles to truly feel the movement. A slower count and different tempo and intensity can be used in order to benefit from this move.
Drive up with your heels to engage your glutes.
Squat and Morphology
An interesting fact about the squat is that individuals who are short-limbed have an advantage when it comes to engaging their entire bodies with the squat, as their spines do not need to curve as much as their long-limbed counterparts.
Thus, understanding your morphology can help you understand what adjustments need to be made for correct form. Correct posture should always be practiced, despite your level of experience in order to prevent injury and improve performance. One should aim to always work with proper form and practicing safety when performing the squat.