Squats in various ways and to a different degree affect the development of the main muscles (quadriceps, thighs and glutes) and support muscles stabilizing the joints (such as the spine extender, thigh adders and two-headed thigh muscles). In order to perform squats comfortably and safely, one should understand the functioning of the muscles and joints, know the range of motion and realize the need for proper concentration. Understanding how muscles work, we can feel how they move bones (isotonic cramps) or how they keep them in a fixed position (isometric contractions). The muscles parallel to the spine, belonging to the back extensors, are responsible for maintaining the posture straight. They also protect the lumbar curvature of the spine. If these auxiliary isometric muscles are weak, the lumbar curvature will straighten or reverse, which may lead to excessive stretching of the lower part of the back and damage to the joints.
The main muscle groups are, of course, quadriceps muscles. The great gluteal muscles belong to the main isotonic muscles because they pull the thigh backwards. The assistant fathers are auxiliary isometric muscles. They also stabilize the knees. The two-headed muscles of the thighs perform a variety of isometric and isotonic contractions, depending on the technique used. They bend the calf when the squat determines the position of the lower part of the sacrum of the spine. When the lower half of the sacrum crosses forward, there is isotonic contraction of the biceps muscle, while its isometric function maintains the position of the pelvis during the torso movement forward.
Consider the joints involved in this movement. The fifth lumbar vertebra is joined by means of a joint with the sacrum bone on the surface of no more than two nails – it is not a great surface for supporting the entire upper body on the sacrum. Therefore, we must protect these delicate joints and the surrounding muscles all the time, especially when doing squats. The upper part of the back should be bent and with the convexity facing forward, in order to prevent micro-injuries. So the backbone rectifier should not change its length throughout the entire range of motion. The hips work best if the bone contact plane is as large as possible. For this to happen, the legs must be turned outside by about 45 ° each
How many times during the training we hear to extend the knees forward. The knees are not for turning but for bending. Rotational movements of the legs should be performed in the hip, non-knee joints. Because the exercise of knee bends requires absolute knee fitness, they should be pulled freely forward, further away from the toes.
In the knee there are two creatures of godfather, so-called meniscus, flat from the bottom (when connected to the tibia) and concave at the top (where they connect to the femoral knuckles). Knee injuries occur when the ligaments that guarantee the stability of these cartilages relax. (Initial small changes may not cause any discomfort.) If the squats are performed improperly, the ligaments protecting the cartilage can relax and expose the joint to injuries. Unfortunately, loosening these ligaments is generally painless, which is why an injury appears without warning. For example, painlessly performed olympic squats for many years often bring a flattened or cracked meniscus on the back of the knee, which is associated with the extraordinary depth of these squats. The cube, thanks to which the foot bends and straightens, moves forward and backward. The ankle bone is smaller at the front than at the back, so when the calf is sagged (such as in the final phase of the squat), it moves back towards the Achilles tendon – or crushes. Therefore, excessive bending of the leg in the ankle should be avoided.
SAFETY AND EFFECTIVE SAFES
Many people do not do squats due to pain in their knees, ankles or lower back. Let’s try to gather our knowledge about the work of muscles and joints and use it to make this “horrifying workout quite bearable. It should be remembered that the injury of the lower back is almost certain if the lumbar curvature is directed straight up or turned over, so it should be ensured that the hips maintain maximum contact with the femur. The knees should extend forward over the feet, without leaning to the sides and at an angle to protect the bone of the foot from damage.
The flexibility of the two-headed muscles of the thigh is also important, especially at the end of the exercise. This allows the pelvic tilt to be maintained, which in turn will help keep the forward curvature of the lower part of the ridge. Let’s take a closer look at three different techniques of doing sit-ups.
Bodybuilders count on the fact that squats will help them shape beautifully defined quadriceps muscles. It shapes the appearance of large muscles, and the great gluteal muscles obtain a distinctive sculpture instead of thickness, because they are strongly stretched along the sacral bone.
At the beginning of the heel, together or apart, no more than thirty-four centimeters, raised, resting on the support; fingers pointing outwards. Lordoza lumbar stays at the top of the exercise, in the middle of the range of movement, but in the end he straightens. With moderate inclination of the body, the squat is relatively shallow. The disadvantage of bodybuilding squats is the fact that the lower part of the back becomes unstable at the end of the exercise, because the pelvis expands and flattens or reverses the lumbar curvature. Those who start doing this exercise for the first time often complain of hip tightness and even pain, because the femoral head does not connect very well to the acetabulum at the end of the exercise.
The knees are also at a disadvantage at the moment, i.e. at the end of the range of movement, because the hip joint pushes the thigh bone outwards, thereby twisting the knee. Sometimes the kneecap is also turned outside. In this way, it moves on the bone, which causes its extraordinary wear. The heels must be based a bit higher, because due to the excessive deflection of the calves, the ankle may suffer.
EXERCISING, BUT THE BEST
There is no other exercise that would require similar concentration and attention like squats, because of the involvement of many muscles and joints. The best teachers of these exercises are bodybuilders, who for many years themselves have performed them correctly or competitors – weightlifters.
A few words about security. Although exercises for muscles and joints should not predispose these organs to injuries, unfortunately, weightlifters are exposed to extreme strains. Therefore, the lumbar belt is necessary for them. It should be fastened during squats, but remember to relax between sets. The belt reduces pressure on the internal organs and the heart. Knee protectors are mainly used by weightlifters.
Power squats are so exhausting that even after the last repetition you can be distracted and strain your knee joint while putting the weight down. Weightlifters often experience knee injuries due to the depth of the squat they achieve. They should therefore seek to protect the knee joint from the front and not from the sides.
Choosing the right exercises with squats can minimize the risk of injury and increase the comfort of the exerciser. At the beginning, your goal should not be to maximize the burden, but to bring the technique to perfection (this is the basis of each exercise). You should gradually prepare your muscles and increase the flexibility of your knees before you put on really heavy plates. Then you can start light weight squats, still using the Olympic technique as a warm-up. (If you have problems with your back or knees, consult a physician training program.)
I asked the bodybuilder. The Mitchell brand, which exercise would he choose if he could only do one thing for the rest of his life. He replied, “I would like it to be a chest exercise, but I must admit that squats are the most difficult and the most versatile exercise that inspires real respect.
You can read also: Why should you train legs?