Squat Your Way Through Weight Loss
If you’ve watched any season of The Biggest Loser, you’ve probably noticed something in common during the beginning of each contest. Contestants are put through an exercise regime which has a great deal of focus on leg exercises, in particular the squat. Have you ever wondered why this is? Well with the help of Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper, we’re going to answer this question.
Why squats... Bob? "What I like to do is incorporate these squats when I'm doing a workout because you're working your large muscle groups. And when you work your larger muscle groups, your heart rate is going to be up, fat burning."
How is a squat performed? When you perform a squat, the key is for it to be weighted. "Don't be afraid of heavier weight here" says Bob. The basic motion of the exercise is to hold your weight (whether a kettle bell or standard weighted bar) and to move from standing to sitting in the air, tracking your knees over your toes and pushing your buttocks behind you. With lighter weights you can go deeper in your squat, often sinking your butt below your knees. With heavier weights this may be more difficult. Keep your body weight in your heels while lowering down. Keep your core strong and your body upright in order to keep strain off your back.
If you're new to squats, you're going to want to practice proper form. This is key and will help prevent injury down the road. Practice makes perfect here, so if the written description above isn't enough for you, check out YouTube for tons of videos on practicing proper squat form. If you find that your hamstrings are very tight and don’t allow you to get down as far as you’d like in your squat, try elevating your heels a bit with either a wooden board or 2 weight plates (one under each heel). This will relieve the tension on your hamstrings and help you dip down into proper position.
If you’re intimidated by squats, either because you’re new to them or because of the weight involved, don’t worry. Just start practicing with body weight alone as a way to get started, and get in proper form. When you start working these larger muscle groups you will move faster toward your weight loss goal.
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