Ricky Lundell’s Personal Guide to Back Squats is Lundell’s first in a series of manual/guides revealing the technical mastery of squats, uncovering the mind-body-spirit partnership, as well as keys to life success through his 1% Better Every Day philosophy. Below are 10 reasons you should start doing squats.
10 Important Reasons to do Squats
1 – Squats Correct the Position of the Body
By the time we have reached the age of thirty, the muscles used to straighten our spines (erector spinae) and keep our shoulders from falling forward (trapezius and rhomboids), have atrophied in the majority of North Americans largely due to a sedentary lifestyle. Muscles that hold our spines straight can be developed by putting enough weight on our backs for our erector muscles to strengthen naturally. So many of us continue “going to the gym,” doing presses and pull ups thinking that because we are in the accurate position for those particular exercises, our bodies are in the correct position. Not true. Those exercises do increase muscle mass but are counter intuitive by creating muscle imbalance.
2 – Squats create Boost in Human Growth Hormone (HGH)
When we start lifting heavier weights through squats, our large muscles exert tremendous effort which causes damage that must be repaired. As a result, our pituitary glands release natural human growth hormones (HGH) in order for us to mend. HGH doesn’t just heal muscles; it stimulates bone strength, fat loss, increases energy, stabilizes mood, cell reproduction and regeneration. The synthetic form of HGH was created in the 1980s and approved by the FDA. However, squatting releases these amazing hormones naturally.
3 – Squats Burn Fat
Performing cardio will burn fat for up to two hours after completing our workouts. When we squat with weights, we will burn fat for 18 hours or more after we leave the gym. Because the largest muscles burn the most calories, high repetition, strength training creates what is known as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), which is a term used for the length of time our metabolism elevates after exercise. If you want to build or maintain muscle while losing weight, squats is your answer.
4 – Squats Slow the Signs of Aging
Squats increase the production of collagen, giving us a tight toned appearance. An added benefit, by increasing our cardiovascular rate and blood flow, more nutrients are delivered to the skin cells all over or faces and bodies, which slows the typical signs of aging. Collagen’s main function is to sustain tendons, skin, and cartilage thus providing integrity, and elasticity for our infrastructure, reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
5 – Squats Prevent Osteoporosis
Squats improve bone density in our hips and spine. Bone health and strength prevent injuries. There are no warning signs before a first bone break. Don’t fool yourself into thinking you don’t need to be concerned with osteoporosis until you are over the age of 40. Not true. Promoting bone density at every age is essential.
6 – Squats Reverse the Effects of Imbalances
Bones are held together by ligaments. Ligaments attach muscles to the bones. Unless we have strong muscles holding our bones in place, they will continue to move, causing pain. Squatting is the perfect symmetrical exercise, allowing the body to build the large muscle and ligament strength necessary to eliminate pain. If you are like me, you go to a chiropractor. He or she pops bones back into place, but two weeks later, the pain returns. Why? Because we haven’t created the infrastructure to hold these bones in place naturally, one of the best ways to solve this issue is to load the body in a symmetrical way, which is squatting. I love my chiropractor, but I don’t want to have to see him or her every week to get pain relief.
7 – Squats Strengthen Knees
Squats build the muscles (Vastus Medialis Quadricep) that stabilize and protect the knee. Don’t buy into the myth that squatting is bad for knees. Done correctly, squatting is an excellent way to protect and support your knees. Like many of you, I bought into the myth spread by American culture that squatting is bad for my knees. My medical doctor told me I had chronic tendonitis and degeneration in my knees.
“So, what can I do about that?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said. “It’s part of getting older. Eventually, you will have to have a new set of knees.”
Because I didn’t know any better, I accepted that answer. Then I started squatting. I noticed a little bit of new muscle growth above my knees after the first week of squats. More growth after the next week, more, and then a little more. Now I have big teardrops (Vastus Medialis Quadricep) around my knees, and they are very stable, far more stable than when I was in my teens, and throughout my years of competition in Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling, and Grappling. Even if you have degeneration in your knees, squats will assist you in protecting what you still have for a longer period of time.
8 – Squats Can Eliminate Chronic Pain
Finding our personal strength balance through squats is the answer to eliminating pain. The strength of our rhomboids and erector spinae muscles must match the strength of our pectorals to be pain-free. Popular American weightlifting culture has evolved into an exercise of sculpting rather than balancing our muscles. We tend to constantly build muscles that show off our 6-packs while neglecting muscles that are doing the important work of holding our infrastructure in the correct position.
9 – Squats Increase Flexibility
Squats increase flexibility in the hips, thoracis spine, shoulders, knees, and ankles. Flexible joints require less energy to move through a greater range of motion decreasing our overall risk of injury while increasing physical performance. This is a fancy way of saying that anything we do physically becomes easier.
10 – Squats Increase our Mind, Body, & Spirit Connection
Just as the rhomboid and pectoral muscles must be balanced in strength to be pain-free, the spirit, mind, and body much be balanced to achieve physical goals.
He’s a World Champion fighter, a Jiu Jitsu legend and an MMA coach. So what could Ricky Lundell possibly need to do better? If you ask Lundell, he’d tell you his latest challenge: ratcheting up his squats weight from a baseline of 275 pounds to an astonishing 500 pounds—in just 500 days. If it sounds impossible, you haven’t tried his 1% Better Every Day mantra. In his new book 1% Better Every Day: Ricky Lundell’s Personal Guide to Back Squats, Ludell lays out his manageable plan to improve your body and mind by making gradual small improvements. By day 500, he squatted 610 pounds, not only proving that his strategy works, but also discovering ultimate accomplishment and inner peace. For more information, visit 1% Better Every Day.