Today the exercise de jour is the squat. The king of the lower body and arguably the most effective exercise in the gym in terms of burning fat or building lean muscle (which then raises metabolism which in turn burns more fat).
The squat, although primarily a lower body exercise, actually uses nearly every muscle in the body. In order, it will use your calves, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors, lower back, upper back, abdominals and many other supporting muscles throughout the body.
We have previously established that the body will burn fat most effectively when compound exercises are performed, so you can see that by using the whole body in one movement, the squat is extremely effective, whatever your aims in the gym.
If your aims is to lose weight, body fat or tone up as the ladies prefer to phrase it, the squat will do that too.
Remember building bigger muscles and losing body fat require the same movements and nutrition (although the aim is to consume much more good food when aiming to build muscle)
It’s your hormones, sex, training regime and genetics that will determine how much muscle you put on. In short, ladies you have nothing to fear from this exercise. In fact, it’s the very best exercise in the gym for shaping your bum and making it look smaller and for losing body fat off your stomach.
The squat is also very effective at making your body release lots of growth hormone. GH is the very best fat burner known to man (and woman), and multiple sets of squats in a workout will release growth hormone in abundance. This growth hormone will burn fat, build muscle and also help you sleep well at night. When you sleep better you burn even more fat so it is a win – win situation.
Anyone that currently trains with me in the gym or comes to our boot camp will know that the squat is a staple in our training programmes. If you are not squatting then you need to start it soon. Well only if you want to burn body fat, get leaner and lose fat from those annoying trouble spots 🙂
The squat will also give you a very effective cardio workout. Cardio basically means working with your heart and lungs and the exercise is extremely taxing on the heart and respiratory system. I wore a heart rate monitor once when performing a set of 20 squats and my heart rate went over 185BPM. If that isn’t working my heart I don’t know what is.
Bottom line is this: The squat will burn fat, help build muscle and get you in shape quicker than everything else in the gym. Get on it! Aim for 4 sets of 12 reps. Increase the weight every time you can perform all 4 sets of 12 with a given weight.
For example, if you do 4 x 12 @ 40kg in a workout, you must increase the weight to say 42.5kg and aim for 4 x 12. Once you can do this the weight must again increase. For more details on progression email me directly. Thanks.
Have a great week ahead and I will see many of you either in the gym or at boot camp.
Gavin @ UCB.