Intro Day #2 and I wanted to quit halfway through, which is a wonder considering all I did was push ups, situps, squats, and some laps. Sounds light, right? NO. FUCK YOU. NO.
While Kyle was still there coaching today, I met another coach, Mike, who also blew me away with the way he treated me. I was with him, and solely him, the whole class. And you know what? He ran laps with me. He did squats with me. He did push ups and sit ups right next to me as I flailed through them on a mat on the ground outside the box, and that pushed me even further.
This is one thing I was told about Crossfit that I can already see: it’s kind of like having a personal trainer. Yes, you may have a class with over 20 people in it, but things are done in heats and the coach (or coaches) walk around and observe what’s going on, helping you where you need it and without your even asking. And if you have to ask, you ask. It’s form over anything when it comes to Crossfit, because no one wants to see anyone get hurt or not reap the benefits of beating the shit out of yourself day in and day out.
So, push ups – same stance as pull ups. I HAVE NEVER. Mike told me to just lower myself down with as much control as possible, make sure my chest touches the ground, and get myself back up as solidly as possible. That worked. It hurt, my arms felt like noodles, but I did it!
I have terrible squat form. TERRIBLE. Everything I thought I knew about squatting was wrong. My butt was not low or sticking out enough, my knees were not driving out to the sides enough. I also have poor knees from playing volleyball in high school for four years and they make cracking noises a lot of the times I go down, so that just adds to the fun.
But hey, suck it up princess. Squats are probably one of the best things you can do, as long as you’re doing them correctly.
The Top 8 Benefits of Squats
Builds Muscle in Your Entire Body
Squats obviously help to build your leg muscles (including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves), but they also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building.
In fact, when done properly, squats are so intense that they trigger the release of testosterone and human growth hormone in your body, which are vital for muscle growth and will also help to improve muscle mass when you train other areas of your body aside from your legs.
So squats can actually help you improve both your upper and lower body strength.
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. When you perform squats, you build muscle and help your muscles work more efficiently, as well as promote mobility and balance. All of these benefits translate into your body moving more efficiently in the real world too.
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. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.
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 – which is incidentally the #1 way to prevent bone fractures versus consuming mega-dose calcium supplements and bone drugs.
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.
Boost Your Sports Performance — Jump Higher and Run Faster
Whether you’re a weekend warrior or a mom who chases after a toddler, you’ll be interested to know that studies have linked squatting strength with athletic ability.i Specifically, squatting helped athletes run faster and jump higher, which is why this exercise is part of virtually every professional athlete’s training program.
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.
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.
So, how do you do it?
Yes, it feels awkward as shit, but I recommend standing in front of a chair and holding on while doing them at first so you don’t fall over. Also, to keep your chest up, do it facing a wall. When I do squats, I put my arms out in front of me in a circle when I go down in order to keep my chest up. Yes, I’ve been called a ballerina for doing it – no, I don’t give a shit.