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5 Reasons Women Need to Squat More

5 Reasons Women Need to Squat More

Back Squat

Despite the snow last week, we still had intrepid ladies turn out for the Women and Weights upper body seminar. This week we hammered squat mechanics and practiced many progressions and variations of the squat. However, we didn’t have quite enough time to cover all the reasons ladies need to squat. Yes, that’s right, we need to squat. Coincidentally, on the same day we reviewed squats, this blog post showed up in my news feed and I felt inspired to make my own list. So, without further ado, here is my list of reasons why squatting is so important:

  1. It’s the most important foundational lift – Ever notice how often babies and young children squat? It’s a lot. Humans used to squat all the time. We had to in order to use the bathroom, eat, and lower ourselves to the ground. Our modern lifestyles no longer require copious amounts of squatting. Somewhere along the way we started wearing shoes, and sitting in chairs, on toilets, in cars, and on couches all the time, and we stopped squatting. The use it or lose it principle is at work here. The less we squat the harder it becomes to squat. Improving ones’ squat improves all aspects of movement and performance. You will jump higher, sprint faster, and pick up heavier stuff. It helps the elderly stand from a seated position more efficiently and improves balance. Improve your squat and every other lift will improve.

  1. Total body toning – For sure, after a lot of squats you may need assistance walking up and down stairs or lowering yourself to the toilet, but your legs aren’t the only thing involved in a squat. Your core is also doing a ton of work and when you are holding onto a weight, you upper body is working too. Engaging so many muscles at one time has amazing strength and cardiovascular benefits, helping you burn more calories and tone up everywhere, not just your lower body.

  1. Rev up your metabolism and lose fat – Remember, we cannot spot reduce and women have greater strength capacity in the lower body. Squatting helps women develop more overall muscle mass. More muscle mass means a higher metabolism and a higher metabolism means greater fat burning capacity. When you are doing cardio you are only burning calories while you are working out, but with strength training you develop more muscle, allowing you to burn calories even after your workout ends.

  1. Pelvic floor strengthening – In week one of Women and Weights we discussed the core and the importance of the pelvic floor in engaging the core and protecting the spine during weight lifting. Pelvic floor dysfunction is unfortunately common in women. Childbirth, weak glutes and sedentary lifestyles are contributing factors. Kegels are commonly prescribed pelvic floor strengthening exercises, but squats are another extremely effective method of strengthening the pelvic floor.

  1. Injury Prevention – As the physical therapist and mobility guru Kelly Starrett says in Becoming a Supple Leopard, “Squatting and walking. If there are two movements you shouldn’t take for granted, it’s how to squat and how to walk. Make a better decision. Master both movements.” Think about the number of times you sit down and stand up during a day. If you do this with crappy mechanics, daily, for years on end, it shouldn’t be a surprise that you knees and back ache with chronic pain. For longevity, quality of life and injury prevention purposes you have to learn proper squatting mechanics. Not only will squats strengthen your muscles, but they also strengthen joints, bones, tendons, and ligaments, and improve your overall balance and flexibility. All of these factors contribute for fewer injuries and a fuller, more active and less painful life.

One of the best things you can do for your health is to learn proper squatting mechanics and practice, practice, practice. My Women & Weights attendees did an excellent job this week and will reap the benefits for years to come. I am quite confident I can help you improve your squat too. Make an appointment, learn how to improve your squat and reap the benefits yourself! Next week in Women and Weights, we are discussing hip hinging movements, like the deadlift. This is another essential movement pattern and an amazing total body strengthening movement. You don’t want to miss it.

Joanna Meade (view bio) is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer at the Downtown Athletic Club. She can be reached at Merritt Athletic Clubs Downtown Club at 410-332-0906.