Squats – The Overall Developer
The squat is a lower body exercise used in weight training which is beneficial to building a great butt. However the exercise’s main emphasis is on the quadriceps and the glutes, but it also involves the hamstrings, the calves, and the lower back. Generally in the gym circles, the squat is often called the king of exercises because it bring into use a lot of muscle groups and thus is very good in the overall development of muscle mass.
The squat should be considered to be the overall butt development exercise because this exercise does not target any specific muscle group, rather is gives a very good overall lower body workout which is essential for a great butt.
An important point to make here is that squats are good at muscle development but aren’t particularly good at muscle lengthening even if you decide to do a full “deep squat”. This exercise should be considered by those who need to build muscle mass at their butt while those looking to sculpt their butts should consider other exercises such as Rock Climbing, Yoga or Pilates.
For squats you can either concentrate on doing high reps/light weights or low reps/heavy weights. High reps/light weights should be considered if you already have sufficient muscles and you would like to tone and define the muscles while low reps/heavy weights is purely for muscle development.
The squat is performed by bending the legs at the knees and hips, lowering the torso between the legs, and then reversing direction to stand up straight again. The torso remains relatively upright and straight throughout the movement and acts as a supporting structure; this is unlike the deadlift. Proper technique is critical, otherwise serious injuries or weaker abdominals over a period of time can occur. The back must be kept straight at all times and never rounded, otherwise excess strain can be placed on the spine and cause serious injury. If lifting heavier loads, lifting belts should be used to maintain the proper posture.
Experts are divided on how squats can be done safely. Some believe the squat must not go too deep — beyond the point where the thighs are parallel to the floor — otherwise excess and unnecessary strain will be placed on the knees while others believe that thighs actually touching calves is acceptable provided the knees do not travel farther forward than the toes, its really a controversial. Still others believe that the knees may travel slightly past the toes. It does seem well agreed upon that the knees should not travel more than a few inches beyond the toes, and that they should stay in line with the toes, not buckling inwards or outwards.
For me, I believe that squats can be done safely even if the squats are deep. The important thing to realize is that the deeper you go the greater the strain on the knees and thus the greater the importance of stance and posture. I also would recommend that you do deeper squats as you would want to develop more muscles evenly too. “Tight parallel” squats aren’t particularly great for the butt there isn’t enough extension to develop the glute muscles evenly, you’ll get a bubble butt in the process!
The feet should be flat on the floor, with even distribution of weight between the heel and the ball of the foot during eccentric (downward) muscle action. In order to reach a range of motion beyond parallel, individuals without sufficient ankle flexibility may try putting a flat board beneath the heels to artificially improve their flexibility always making sure that stability is maintained.
Similarly, a wedge shaped board may be used, allowing the entire foot to remain in contact with a single surface, improving stability over the first technique. Both methods are short-term fixes and require that regular stretching and a full range of motion be employed to maintain and increase flexibility to the desired levels with the ultimate aim that the board’s use be eliminated.