Squats are one of the exercises that we should not skip in our daily exercise routine. Undoubtedly, their potential is tremendous, especially when we master the technique and try other more demanding versions. What types of squats are there? How to execute each type of squat? Below we resolve your doubts and show you how to raise the level of your squats with the help of electrostimulation.
What are squats?
The squat is an exercise that is structured in two parts. First, you bend your legs and lower your body until your buttocks are close to the floor. Next, you perform the reverse exercise to stretch the lower limbs and come back up. In this way, the glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings are involved.
It should be noted that this technique significantly strengthens the lower body. You will be surprised to know that its power goes beyond the legs, as it also activates the abdomen and lower abdomen. This is usually the forgotten one because it is the most difficult to stimulate, but with this exercise you will achieve it.
Paradoxically, this is one of the most hated exercises among athletes. Why is that? It is true that the legs tend to bear weight easily, but that is exactly why it is necessary to give them strength. Additionally, many times, the pain or discomfort they cause is due to the fact that they are being done incorrectly.
What are squats good for?
This exercise is perfect for strengthening the legs and buttocks, especially if performed with weights. Likewise, they contribute to the agility of the lower extremities, making them the perfect way to prevent muscle atrophy. They also cause movement that benefits the joints, especially the knees.
What muscles are exercised with the squat?
Glutes are one of the great beneficiaries, especially due to the impulse it receives from the hip when going up. The adductors (on the inner thigh) are activated the wider the legs are when descending. Others muscles involved are the hip, dorsal and lumbar stabilizers.
Benefits of doing squats
When we talk about doing a squat, we mean doing it right. It may sound obvious, but there are people who believe that all it takes is to go up and down. If you do this, you will only be putting a lot of stress on your joints and ligaments. Needless to say, the results will be too long in coming.
One of the benefits is related to stability. As mentioned before, the stabilizing muscles of the body intervene during the movement of descent and ascent. As a result, they are considerably strengthened, especially those in the core.
Increasing the mass of the legs is complicated, since they have large muscles. However, gradually, especially if you apply more than just your body weight. At the same time, they also strengthen the knee joints and ankles.
Many people who include them in their exercise routines will tell you they do them to tone up. And they are right, as they are perfect for uncovering the buttock and thigh muscles by eliminating the fat that surrounds them, especially in the case of the former. Moreover, this exercise has been linked to a more pronounced abdominal “V”.
Types of squats
In itself, it must be clear that they can be highly varied. We do not recommend that you do a complete workout based on the traditional ones, but that you do intersperse series with complementary equipment. But what types of squats are there? We will review and explain how to execute the most common ones.
Squats with jump
These types of jump squats are perfect for involving cardio as well, so they may be your best option if you are looking to lose weight. It consists of doing a normal squat but followed by a jump in place or a jump forward. This way, your body will also receive an extra boost of energy and blood flow will be further stimulated.
It is best to keep your legs slightly open, about 45º. You can hold a kettlebell between your hands if you want to make it more challenging, but the important thing is that you do it right. As this is an aerobic exercise, we recommend a warm-up that includes some running.
Squats with weights
If in the previous ones the weight was optional, in these, it is mandatory. This way, you can combine them with a small strength training exercise which also involves the arms, albeit to a lesser extent. The main advantage of this modality is that it activates more of the abdomen and accelerates muscle growth in the legs.
You have two main options. If you are a beginner, you can hold a kettlebell, as explained above. But if you have done this type of exercise before, you may be able to put a weight on your shoulders (behind your head). But do it in front of a mirror so you can control your posture and avoid back or neck injuries.
Medicine ball squats
These types of medicine ball squats are a good alternative to the previous types of squats, as it combines strength and cardio. It consists of holding a medicine ball weighing between 2 and 5 kilos between your hands. The difference is that, when you have finished the upward movement, you have to continue with your arms upward while doing a jump.
Although it may seem that it only serves to add weight, you should know that it is helpful in preserving balance. In what way? With traditional squats, you can keep your arms stretched forward; here, you keep them on the ball. In any case, avoid squeezing it when your legs hurt so as not to divert the energy from your body.
Squats with bands
These types of squats with bands are great for strengthening muscles, as we force them to provide an external resistance. To do this, you have to place it between your legs and spread them apart until you start to feel tension on the outside of your thighs. After that, you can perform the squat normally, either with or without weights.
In this type of squat you have to be careful with this technique because there is a catch. When you place the band and spread your legs a little apart, you may not feel any difficulty. However, your muscles will tighten as the seconds pass in a fairly rapid process. Therefore, it is best to determine which stretch is good before you start descending.
This type of single leg squat was created to test your balance and work the middle of your lower body. What you should do is descend with one leg while keeping the other leg in a forward extended position. Then, just do the exercise as normal, but with your hands on your hips or forward for stability.
In this type of squat, balance is essential, which is why we recommend that you do some abdominal exercises before starting. These will keep you from falling, so supplement with 3-5 sets of crunches. It also prevents the knee from sliding to the inside, as this can cause injury.
Squats with electrostimulation
Did you know that electrical muscle stimulation (EMS) can make you see results much faster? The key is to take advantage of the effect the impulses have on your body to maximize the benefit of this practice. In case you still don’t know the advantages of EMS, we will briefly present some of them:
- It enhances training results by subjecting all muscles to constant tension and movement.
- It activates the deepest muscle layers of your muscles, which are impossible to reach with conventional exercise.
- It works without neglecting the smaller muscles, which are often difficult to stimulate.
- It minimizes post-workout exertion by accelerating recovery and preventing the onset of injury.
- It counteracts the effect of muscle atrophy, especially after a period of time without exercise.
To enjoy all these benefits, electrostimulation suits are your best ally. Our Slim Lithe skinsuit is designed for athletes who want to get more out of every hour of training. Undoubtedly, a great option to get more results and speed up the resting time.
Performing a squat with electrostimulation has a very interesting peculiarity. It is possible to activate all the muscle fibers of the lower body, especially those of the thighs and buttocks. This translates into a much higher performance without the need for extra effort.
The most noticeable physical difference is that of the buttocks before and after doing squats.
At the same time, you can activate your metabolism to further stimulate the fat burning process. These EMS suits have also demonstrated that it is possible to do this in a localized manner. The aim is to act on the areas in which more adipose tissue accumulates to cellulite or stop it completely.
Ultimately, squats should be the foundation for a good leg routine. The key to getting the most out of them is to practice different types of series and, of course, to take advantage of the effect of electrostimulation.
If you want to know how our technology works applied to sports, Wiemspro will be happy to show you. Subscribe to our blog!
Frequently asked questions about types of squats
What should not be done in a squat?
Performing a squat incorrectly can increase the risk of injury and may not provide the benefits expected from this exercise. Here is a list of things not to do in a squat:
- Not maintaining proper form: Poor form is one of the leading causes of squat injuries. Some common mistakes include hunching your back, arching your lower back, or allowing your knees to move forward excessively. You should keep your back straight, chest up, and knees in line with your ankles.
- Not using full range of motion: Avoiding full range of motion when doing squats can limit your benefits. Make sure you lower yourself enough so that your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. Failure to do so may reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
- Do not keep your heels on the ground: Your heels must remain in contact with the ground at all times. Raising your heels can increase pressure on your knees and cause imbalances.
- Not controlling speed: Performing squats too fast or in an uncontrolled manner can increase the risk of injury. You must go down and up in a controlled and constant manner.
- Not using the proper equipment: Wearing the wrong footwear or not having a properly balanced bar or weights can be dangerous. Make sure you have the right equipment for your skill level and strength.
- Not warming up properly: Not warming up before doing squats can increase the risk of injury. Perform warm-up exercises to prepare your muscles and joints.
- Not breathing correctly: Not maintaining proper breathing can affect your stability and strength. You should inhale deeply before going down and exhale when going up.
- Failing to progress gradually: Trying to lift too much weight too soon can increase your risk of injury. Gradually increase resistance as you improve your strength and technique.
- Not paying attention to signs of pain: Ignoring pain during squats can lead to injury. If you feel sharp or uncomfortable pain, stop and evaluate your form or consider consulting a health professional.
- Not maintaining attention on the exercise: Distraction or lack of concentration can lead to errors in technique and injuries. Keep your attention on form and movement as you perform the squats.
It’s important to learn and practice proper squat technique, and if you’re new to the exercise, consider working with a trainer or fitness professional to ensure you’re performing them safely and effectively.
What is better squat with weight or without weight?
Choosing between weighted and unweighted squats depends on your goals, fitness level, and personal preferences. Both squat variations have their advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a comparison to help you decide which one is best for you:
- Accessibility: You can do weightless squats anywhere as they require no additional equipment.
- Safety: They are safer for beginners who may be learning proper technique before adding weight.
- Functional movement: Weightless squats imitate a natural movement that we perform in daily life.
- Stamina Limitations: May become less challenging for advanced individuals due to lack of additional stamina.
- Less potential for strength and muscle mass development compared to weighted squats.
Weighted squats (barbell squats, dumbbell squats, etc.):
- Strength and muscle development: Adding weight to squats allows for greater stimulus for muscle growth and strength development.
- More challenging: Weighted squats are more challenging and can help you progress in your fitness.
- Variety: You can vary the type of weight used (barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells) to change the focus of your muscles.
- Increased risk of injury if not done correctly.
- Requires additional equipment, such as barbells and weights.
- It is not suitable for beginners without prior experience in squat technique.
In short, choosing between weighted and unweighted squats depends on your personal goals and fitness level. For most people, a combination of both in their exercise routine may be the most beneficial. Starting with unweighted squats to learn proper technique and then progressing to weighted squats as you gain experience and strength is a common strategy. It’s always important to make sure you’re performing squats with proper form to avoid injury, and consider seeking advice from a fitness trainer or health professional if you have concerns.
What is the Smith squat?
The “Smith squat” is a variation of the squat that is performed using a weight machine called a Smith machine. This machine has a bar that rides on a vertical rail, allowing users to perform weightlifting movements in a more controlled and guided manner. The Smith squat is performed using this machine and is characterized by the following features:
- Guided Bar: In a Smith squat, the bar is attached to the machine and travels on a vertical rail. This means that the bar follows a predefined path, which can help lifters maintain a more consistent form and provide some stability.
- Less need for balance: Since the bar is guided along a rail, users have less need for balance compared to free bar squats, where stability is the lifter’s own responsibility.
- Focus on quadriceps: The Smith squat is often used to focus on the development of the quadriceps and other parts of the legs.
Despite its advantages in terms of safety and stability, the Smith squat also has some criticisms. Some argue that it does not work the stabilizer muscles in the same way as free bar squats and can lead to less natural movement patterns. Additionally, due to the bar’s guidance, it may not be suitable for all fitness levels or those looking to improve their functional strength and balance.
Ultimately, choosing to perform the Smith squat or free bar squats depends on your personal goals and experience level. Both have their applications, and the choice will depend on what you are trying to achieve in your training program.