The human body does not thrive when it simply sits and stays put continuously for long hours. Nevertheless, current job profiles and an increasingly inactive lifestyle go against our most basic, primal instincts for movement. Nowadays we tend to sit so much that health professionals label sitting as the new smoking!
Prolonged sitting is also fast cutting off our connection with the ability to squat, a quintessential movement pattern of our ancestors. This leaves us with weak legs. Weak legs make us lazy. Before you know it, you lose the knack to enjoy a long walk or a run and taking the stairs keeps getting more and more difficult.
Heavy duty squatting: a case that goes in favor of both genders
If you are one of those men who deems himself as a serious lifter and make time from a busy schedule to push and pull some serious iron in the gym, try and go heavy on your squats to find yourself deeply humbled.
If you are one of those women who worry about her flabby hips and thighs and have resigned yourself to do nothing else but blame your genetics, then try going as heavy as you can on your squats in all your leg workouts to witness a surprising leg transformation in the next few weeks.
Squats are a massive ego equalizer for those who consider themselves strong. Pushing past one’s comfort zone, adding heavy resistance to squats will garner some of the most painful post workout soreness in the first few weeks of typically intense and heavy leg sessions. The soreness might be bad enough to make you deeply doubt and question the benefits of such painful self-inflicted torture. However, supported by sound nutrition and adequate rest, after a few weeks you will find yourself charging through plateaus whether your goal is to gain mass or lose weight and tone down. Making the squat a staple lift of your weekly workouts will help you get a body that extends way beyond mediocre in both performance and appearance.
Evidence of a typical Squat Transformation using heavy weights
Heavy squats build an even layer of muscle mass in your legs. You may work on progressing to lift as heavy as lifting 150 lbs or more and your legs will still not get ‘bulky.’ However, greater the amount of muscle mass in your legs, lesser will be the presence of fat and hideous cellulite as can be seen in both the images on the left and above.
Squats burn more calories per rep than almost any other compound lift. Added to that, your posterior is likely to get a butt-lift that would beat the work of some of the finest plastic surgeons on the planet!
Do not skip leg day!
Many men tend to overlook leg training, simply because, legs are not the most visible part of their bodies that they can flaunt. Hence, doing squats does not appeal to their vanity as much. This kind of carelessness might just offset the impact created by your massive upper body with ridiculously skinny, chicken legs.
Leg training with heavy squats as the hero of all your leg sessions will create an enhanced anabolic environment in your body. Taking the trouble to train complete 100% of your body every week, as compared to the usual 50%, you increase the hormonal stress created for recovery. This means your body produces greater growth hormone and testosterone to stimulate muscle growth while you sleep at night. Duh!
Once you build considerable dense leg muscle, staying lean gets much easier.
For every pound of muscle you gain, your body burns extra 50-70 calories per day. Hence, if you gain ten pounds of muscle in your legs, your body will burn extra 500-700 calories per day!
Befriend squats if you are serious about fitness.
No wonder barbell back squats and front squats are essential lifts in the routines of powerlifters, bodybuilders, fitness models and athletes. Despite the visible differences in overall fitness goals the above people are likely to have from each other, everybody can benefit from an insanely strong lower body.
Nothing trains your central nervous system to brace your core to the hilt to protect your lower back, as moving through a heavy squat does. Deep squats particularly improve your range of motion through the entire hip complex. This spells greater functional strength. You not only find yourself jumping higher and running faster, but you also land firmly but softly on your knees as your leg muscles get developed enough to absorb high impact landings. This means, jumping over fences will become joyful again and taking the long flight of stairs, two at a time, will not seem so daunting.
Squats are a long-term investment, your old age will thank you.
As you build your strength on the squat over the years and keep refining your form, the co-ordination between your hip, knee and ankle joint to mutually share the stress of resistance will also keep improving over time. No amount of mega-dose calcium supplement alone can generate the bone and joint health triggered by compound lifts such as the squat. Developed glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps stabilize the body weight in case of any sudden movement that involves the legs to keep your body safe from injury.
Learn to love the pain and it will cease to hurt!
If you need any more convincing to start training your legs seriously then here is another one. Over time, you will develop wrought iron emotional resilience and a heart of a champion. Not everyone can learn to channelize their inner barbarian and enjoy heavy leg workouts. The satisfaction that comes from that sentiment alone will leave you feeling great!