31 July, 2015

10 Squat variations to firm your butt and thighs

Squats and its variations.

Squats help to tone the muscles of legs and thighs. These are one of the most effective exercises for the hip and thighs. They work with your own body weight. The technique for the squats is very important and has to be kept in mind. If done incorrectly, it places a lot of stress on the knee joints. When you go down, imagine you are sitting on a chair or a pot behind you. So the angle of knee flexion should not be more than 90 degrees. Which means you should be able to see your toes when you bend down. The only exception here is the Hindu squats where the knees go beyond the toes but it is compensated by lifting the heels up and being on your toes.
There are many variations of squats and many equipments can be used to assist the squats to make them more effective and more challenging.

Lets evaluate the squats.

1.          Squats with swiss ball or gym ball:

In women, the pelvis is broader than men. That is to support the childbirth. But the other aspect is that unlike men, who can squat by keeping the back straight, because of narrow pelvis, women are unable to keep their backs very straight. A gym ball comes to assists us in this. Place the ball between your back and the wall. This will help you to squat without bending your back forward.
This also supports the back.

2.          Squats with kettlebells

The reason the double kettlebell squat is so much more challenging than its barbell cousin is due to leverage. Consider the rack position: With a barbell, the load rests near the top of the spine, across the collarbone and the front of the deltoids, just below the head. In this arrangement, the barbell becomes virtually one with the lifter, making it easier to move the external resistance. This allows you to move much more weight.
With a kettlebell, it's almost the opposite. In the rack, the weight rests low, against the outside of the forearms, with the elbows pointed down rather than out. The bells try to pull your body forward and off-balance, which forces your entire midsection to reflexively contract in order to keep you from folding in half.
 To start with, you'll become a better squatter. Because the spine is protected due to the increased reflexive core activation from the rack, lifters can usually squat deeper with kettlebells than they would with a barbell. The difference here is one you'll likely feel on your backside for days after the first time you try it, so consider yourself warned.

3.          Hindu squat

These are similar to traditional squats but instead of stopping parallel to the floor, go full down. Going through full range of motion, gets your heart rate up and uses more muscles. Do not be afraid: Contrary to the popular belief, research now says that squatting full will not hurt your knees.

4.          Prisoner squats

Done with hands behind your head. Keeping the hands up above the heart, helps to escalate the heart rate.

5.          Sumo wrestler’s squats

In this you bring the hands from down under your thighs and fold your hands. Now squat up and down.

6.          Dumbbell squats

Dumbbells are held to overload the muscles. You can choose to keep dumbbells down by the side of hips or up towards the shoulders.

7.          Balance board squats

The balance board has a small round ball, under it. You stand on the board, holding a bar for support and do the squats. These are challenging because the uneven surface activates the muscles more. Your calf and core muscles are also activated.

8.          Squats on top of Bosu

        Balancing on the bosu can initially help develop some of the stabilization muscles. It is of course more difficult than standard body weight squats. The thing of it is, is that balancing on a bosu is more of a skill based exercise. You get better at balancing on it less from getting stronger in a lot of ways than by learning how to do it.
This exercise is excellent to activate all of the muscles in your upper legs and your core. It requires a lot of control and balance and is a bit harder than it looks.

9.     Squats with medicine ball

Stand with a wide stance while holding a medicine ball with both hands. Fully extend your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level or to increase the intensity, hold it overhead. Next, simply perform a full squat so as to imagine that you are sitting down in a chair. Return to the start position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

10.     Squats with TRX

Regular squats are essential to build a strong lower body. Add a TRX to the mix to help improve you form or even give you some stability and support (if you need it). Start off by holding both handles in front of your waist, elbows bent by sides. Lower down into a squat, extending arms in front of you at eye level. Push yourself back up to start.

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