By CASE BELCHER
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
The squat is fundamental to nearly everything you do in sport or life. Do it well, and most other physical endeavors will fall into place. Do it poorly, and nearly every physical task is going to be much more difficult.
No matter your sport or fitness program, squats should be a building block of that program. Let me rephrase that to make it more simple: No matter who you are or what you do, you should be squatting as part of your exercise or training program. To help drive this point home, we've compiled 10 facts to make a case for the squat:
1. Squatting is about more than just getting stronger. Squatting is paramount in promoting proper hip, leg and core function.
2. If you don't have proper hip function, you will not be able to run, throw, jump, lift or punch properly (just to name a few).
3. There is no substitute for the squat. Leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, etc. are nothing more than assistance exercises to their far superior brother ... the squat.
4. Squatting does not, and should not, target just the quads. It is a full leg motion and should be executed with full range of motion. This helps support both sides of the knee joint, and balances the load throughout the quadricep, the hamstring and glutes.
5. You should have a nearly perfect air squat before adding a load. This means you should have impeccable form when squatting with just bodyweight.
6. You should be squatting below parallel. This means getting the hip crease below the knee in the bottom of the squat.
7. The bottom of the squat is nature's intended sitting position. Chairs are not part of your biological makeup. Thus squatting is truly innate to us as human beings.
8. Squatting deeply is NOT bad for the knees. When executed properly, the hips take most of the forces below 90 degrees.
9. Can you hurt yourself squatting? Yes. How? By doing it wrong and adding too much weight too soon.
The squat generates a maximal neuroendocrine response. That means that the squat elicits the greatest training-induced adaptation for the whole body.