Squats for Athletes (Part 3)

Squats are an incredible lower body exercise. Targeting a large number of major muscles, squats develop the muscles of the back, pelvis, hips and thighs. Training routines can be formulated to increase strength, power, endurance, stamina, cardiovascular fitness and respiratory health.

In part one of my Squats for Athletes series I wrote about proper squatting technique, safety, stance width, depth, spine health and knee health. In part two, I discussed various forms of squats and the advantage of each form. In this third segment I wrote about squatting routines for strength, endurance, cardiovascular health and lung strength.

Training: Squats strengthen the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system and the respiratory system. Different training approaches target each of these body systems.

Strength and Power: Squat with heavier weight and lower repetitions to build strength, power and explosiveness. Barbell squats and front squats are incredible tools to develop muscular strength and power. Lower repetition squats demand the larger muscles in the thighs and hips work at maximum capacity. Sets performed with repetitions of six or lower are ideal for strength and power. Take a longer rest between sets when training with low repetitions.

Endurance: Higher repetition squats build muscular endurance. Body weight squats, fitball squats, anchor squats, dumbbell squats, front squats and barbell squats are excellent tools for endurance. Repetitions between fifteen and fifty are ideal for developing endurance and stamina. Use a shorter rest period between sets when training for endurance.

Cardiovascular and Respiratory System: The keys to strengthening your heart and lungs is shorter rest time between sets and training into oxygen debt. This is accomplished with hard-pushing sets of bodyweight squats, anchor squats, BOSU ball squats, front squats and back squats. Intense squats get the heart pumping and the lungs gasping for air. Use these features to increase the health of your heart and lungs.

Combine squats with other exercises for best results. For example, do a series of five exercises with no rest in between. Perform anchor squats, kettlebell swings, walking lunges, jump rope for a minute and straight leg raises in succession. Rest for two minutes then do it again. Your heart and lungs will get a tremendous workout.

It is my professional opinion that the best benefit athletes receive from squatting is increased lung health. Improved lung power allows an athlete to work harder for a longer time period. Intense squatting requires the lungs to work hard. This hard work results in increased lung strength.

Oxygen debt is the difference between the oxygen the working body parts need and the current level of oxygen provided. Oxygen debt happens when the functioning muscles require more oxygen than your lungs can currently supply. The increased oxygen demand requires more oxygen than the normal breathing process supplies. Deep breathing is required during oxygen debt. Squats are an excellent exercise to induce oxygen debt. Therefore, squats are a tremendous exercise to develop increased lung strength.

Conclusion: Squats are a powerful strength and fitness tool. Devise a squatting routine that coincides with your health and fitness goals. Execute your squat training plan with purpose and dedication. Consistency is imperative. Stay mindful of your technique to yield optimal results and limit injuries. Incorporate squats into your fitness routine to develop into a stronger athlete. Strengthen your muscles, joints, bones, heart and lungs with a sound squatting program. Achieve your health and fitness goals with an intelligent routine that employs squats as the centerpiece.

Dr Donald A Ozello DC of Championship Chiropractic in Las Vegas, NV

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“Running: Maximize Performance & Minimize Injuries” https://www.amazon.com/Running-Performance-Chiropractors-Minimizing-Potential/dp/1493618741

**Disclaimer: Always consult a medical professional before beginning an exercise program. Always work within your capabilities. Never perform an exercise that elicits or increases pain or symptoms. Reading this article and viewing the linked videos does not take the place of seeing a medical professional. Please visit a medical professional for evaluation, diagnosis & treatment.

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