My 12 fantastic resistance training exercises, as surprising as it may seem, is based on this list of 12 basic exercises. 

I hardly add new or flashy exercises in my routines, the exercises below apart from a possible bench press* work directly all the big muscles of the body and indirectly the little ones, such as arms and calves.

* If not for incompatibility, I would bench press. Unfortunately, I have a shoulder injury that keep me way from that exercise.

Just check below my 12 fantastic Resistance training exercises, and in the number 1 spot, we find the BACK SQUAT.

Chapter 1 of 12

1- The Back Squat

The Squats is the king of the resistance training exercises, it works almost every muscles of your body directly or indirectly.

As well as your balance and flexibility. It is a challenging and demanding exercise loved and hated at the same time. In this article my focus is on deep squat or "butt to the ground" with the full range of motion.

The only time I may consider doing a half squat would be to break a plateau and get my body used to a heavier load, if not all the way down!

Before talking about the benefits of the squat, I will highlight how I squat.

A- Normal squat would be at 2011 tempo, my natural speed. I would lower the bar in 2", and with no break at the bottom, get up as fast as I can, then rest another second and start again.

B- My second favorite is the 3" hold at the bottom or 2311 tempo, I lower the bar in 2", hold in the bottom position for 3", raise the bar as fast as I can and start again.

C- The toughest is by far the 4010 tempo, I love and hate that modality as to lower a heavy weight is a tough one. I tend to do sets of 10, so if the work is well done, we are talking about 50" under tension... It hurts.

D- Finally, one modality that I rarely used is to squat light and fast to get that quick reaction of legs and glutes.

Now that I shared my secrets, WHY SHOULD YOU SQUAT?

The Top 8 Benefits of Squat

What makes squats such a fantastic exercise?

  1. Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body

    Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and butt), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.

    In fact, when done heavy and properly, your lower back, core muscles are also active. In order, to better your squat generally people strengthen trapezius and lower back.

    So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.

  2. Functional Exercise Makes Real-Life Activities Easier

    Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform real-life activities, as opposed to simply being able to operate pieces of gym equipment. Squats are one of the best functional exercises out there, as humans have been squatting since the hunter-gatherer days.

    "What babies and toddlers do first and best is to squat!"

  3. Burn More Fat

    One of the most time-efficient ways to burn more calories is actually to gain more muscle! For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. Secondly, the legs are the biggest muscles of the body so the best way to burn more calories and melt fat is to Squat.

  4. Maintain Mobility and Balance

    Strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength. They also work out your core, stabilizing muscles, which will help you to maintain balance, while also improving the communication between your brain and your muscle groups, which helps prevent falls.

  5. Prevent Injuries

    Most athletic injuries involve weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, which squats help strengthen. They also help prevent injury by improving your flexibility (squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance, as noted above.

  6. Boost Your Sports Performance -- Jump Higher and Run Faster

    From toddlers to professional athletes, everybody squat, no matter the activity the athletes is involved in.Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete's training program.

  7. Tone Your Backside, Abs and Entire Body

    Few exercises work as many muscles as the squat, so it's an excellent multi-purpose activity useful for toning and tightening your behind, abs, and, of course, your legs. Furthermore, squats build your muscles, and these muscles participate in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism and insulin sensitivity, helping to protect you against obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

  8. Help with Waste Removal

    Squats improve the pumping of body fluids, aiding in removal of waste and delivery of nutrition to all tissues, including organs and glands. They're also useful for improved movement of feces through your colon and more regular bowel movements.

The Proper Way to Perform a Squat?

There is a debate regarding how low we should go when we perform a squat.

The answer is look at any baby or toddler squatting, they go as low as they possibly can. This is the right way, the natural way!

What happens is that we lost our flexibility, or we have muscle imbalances that we have to sort out in order to squat low.

Squats have long been criticized for being destructive to your knees, but research shows that when done properly, squats actually improve knee stability and strengthen connective tissue.

  1. Stand with your feet just over shoulder width apart pointing outward
  2. Keep your chest up this will keep your back in a neutral position.
  3. Slowly bend your knees, hips and ankles, lowering until you reach a 90-degree angle or below.
  4. An important point, your weight, your balance has to be on your heels and butt, not your toes. You can look forward or upwards. NEVER DOWN, REMEMBER THE BODY GOES WHERE THE HEAD, IF YOU LOOK DOWN YOU WILL GET A ROUNDED BACK, COMPROMISE YOUR POSTURE AND NOT BEING ABLE TO LIFT THE BAR.
  5. Breathe in as you lower, breathe out as you return to starting position.


Ok, time to put in practice  

To come On next Thursday 18th, chapter 2 of 12: The deadlift  

Aaron performing a deep squat, feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, breathing in on way down.

Aaron performing a deep squat, feet slightly more than shoulder width apart, breathing in on way down.

Aaron from a different angle. Chest and shin lines are parallel, head neutral, facing forward. 

Aaron from a different angle. Chest and shin lines are parallel, head neutral, facing forward.