I am often asked what is the best exercise to include in a program.
There are a lot of really good exercises out there, some may not consider it the best but it will be in the top list of all quality trainers. All exercises have their place in a program, depending on the person’s goals. However a really good exercise that I do recommend in some way shape or form in almost every one of my clients programs is the squat.
Nicknamed the “King of Exercises”.
People may argue if it is the best exercise, but who can argue with a nickname like that. I like the squat for a number of reasons.
1) it is functional, meaning training squats in the gym has a direct relationship to movements in everyday life. You squat dozens of times a day, sitting down to standing up. If you have difficulty getting out of a chair adding squats to your exercise program will strengthen your legs to make that task easier.
2) It’s natural, how do I know? Because babies squat. They were not taught how to do it, it just comes naturally, because it is a natural movement.
I can’t take credit for this first pic, already all over the internet but it is a good overview of the squat, performed by a toddler, without training.
The last two pictures are of my daughter. It is really cool to watch her squat, how she does it flawlessly without thinking about it.
People will argue that babies have more bones, more mobility and a lot of other excuses why they can’t squat but babies can. Older people squat too. In many countries it is still how they go to the bathroom.
Take a look at these guys, not spring chickens and seem to have no problem getting a good deep squat.
As a side note there is a company called the squatty potty that believes not squatting when going to the bathroom causes a lot of our GI issues. They invented a device to combat that.
I am not endorsing this product, but I do find it interesting.
3) Squats are a great overall body exercise that involves almost the whole body including the core.
4) Squats can be done anywhere and you don’t need any equipment. For added resistance you only need minimal equipment.
5) There are many variations of squats to suit your needs, goals and limitations.
There are tons of different variations of squat that can be done, body weight squats, back squats, front Squat, sissy squats, box squats, hack squats, wall squats, split squat, and the list goes on.
Next time you are in the gym, working out at your house or just sitting around thinking “I should do some exercise today” try a few sets of squats. If squats are already part of your workout program, try some variations to keep things fresh.