Devoting a complete article to a single exercise may seem a little overrated. Yet the squat is the most complete exercise that exists and it comes in variants that target more one or the other region. Nevertheless, when you do squats, you work almost all your muscles. The thighs, of course, but also the calves, the glutes, the ischios, the abs, the back, the shoulders, the arms .. It is thus, one can affirm it without being mistaken, the most complete exercise.
Let's take a look at the different variants of this exercise.
The complete squat is not always the exercise we usually practice, because we have to go all the way down .. We often say buttocks on heels .. It's a very complete exercise, which will work deeper on buttocks and also the ischios and in its upper part, the thighs. Many athletes think that going low in squat causes stress on the knee joint. Studies show that stress is greater in ½ squat than in full squat. It is an essential exercise to develop curvy and voluminous thighs and glutes.
The ½ squat will solicit less the glutes and put more emphasis on the thighs. It is appropriate for this exercise to lower the thighs horizontally. Many practitioners work squat in this way because they do not have the flexibility or morphology to get to the complete squat. As long as you do not have an impeccable technique without weight to perform a complete squat, it is better to stick to what you master perfectly and not to add weight on a bad technique. This would inevitably result in an injury in the short or long term.
The ¼ squat is not often practiced consciously in bodybuilding but remains an effective exercise in power-training to increase relaxation. It should be worked intensely in order power to be effective.
The jump squat is also suitable to enhance ones’ volume or strength. It is a very physical exercise and it is advisable to take care of the joints while doing it. Do not practice it if you have pain in your knees or lower back. Power exercises require you to achieve maximum contraction and speed up your movement. If you feel pain during the movement, you will not be able to stop the movement immediately because of its inertia and you risk an injury. This exercise can be done on the ground or with a bench on which you jump up.
The sumo squat is practiced legs apart to the maximum. The pelvis is lowered to the level of the knees. It will allow localize the work of adductors.
Double squat is a way to increase the intensity of exercise by reducing weight. It suffices for one to go down and make an insistence before going back. It will give a feeling of an intense burning in the thighs.
The front squat is practiced with the bar at the level of the clavicles, either by closing the arms, elbows forward, or as in weightlifting, taking the bar in pronation on your collarbones elbows forward. With the front squat, your thighs will be solicited more.
Hack squat is practiced with the bar held behind the legs. It also intensifies the work of the front of the thighs, the quadriceps. The position is not always the most comfortable and requires a bit of a habit to be effective. Do not hesitate to persevere.
The squat snatch comes directly from weightlifting and has become a movement in itself in crossfit. It does not help you to achieve records but seems very useful to refine the balance and the technique. It is basically a complete squat but with the bar above the head.
If your squat technique is not great, it will be difficult to achieve.
Single-leg squat is an exercise that also requires balance but will still allow you to exercise it if you have a leg injury. It will also allow you to not add too much weight if you have a problem with the joints or back. In general, you can work it with the support of your hand on a wall.
Squat is therefore an important and varied exercise, but don’t be disappointed if physical pain prevents you from doing them. Your old injuries may prevent you from doing it correctly. You will simply have to adapt your training according to your abilities. This will not create an obstacle for you in reaching a high level in your sport ... You will just have one good tool in less.
All these different exercises have their advantages and focus more on one or the other part of the thigh. Be careful not to continue your series if you feel pain in your joints, whether in the lower back or knees. Ask someone competent to correct your technique if needed before starting again !!
Of course, the exercises presented with free bars, are also possible with dumbbells. Some machines also allow to bring another variants to these exercises.
So, when you want to change a part of your training, you will have the choice to include one or the other squat and vary your session with these exercises.