I love working out. For some it’s a chore, and people ask me: How do you manage to work out all the time? It’s quite easy to do--it’s like a hobby. I love everything about it: the rush of blood to my biceps, aka “the pump”, the burning sensation brought on by lactic acid build-up, and my heart beating through my chest after a set of squats. I just love working out--always have, and I think I always will.
Despite my passion for training, there are some exercises that I like more than others. Like many of the bros at the gym, I could bench press every day if my shoulders were indestructible. But when leg day comes around I cringe-- because I know I must face the squat rack. Squats are that love-hate exercise. I love all the benefits that they offer, but I hate them because they challenge my will, toughness, and physical ability.
I often joke and say that doing squats is my cardio for the day. Simply banging out 10 to 20 bodyweight squats will leave you feeling somewhat winded. Now picture placing your body weight or more across your shoulders and performing 10 reps. That will leave you feeling like a fish out of water!
Squats can be used in high-intensity interval training if you perform them with the right parameters. Try performing some Tabata intervals using squats with just your bodyweight--or loaded, depending on your fitness level and experience.
Here’s how it works:
WORK hard for 20 seconds
REST for 10 seconds
REPEAT 8 times
I promise those four minutes will make you hate life, but you'll love the calories that you’ll burn. You can utilize Tabatas at the end of a workout as a finisher--or if you're pressed for time, alternating squats and [another exercise for another muscle group?] in a Tabata set could very easily be a quick workout for the day. After all, Tabatas were originally used by Olympic athletes in Japan. These athletes literally walked into the gym and walked out four minutes later; but they trained at intensity levels that civilians wouldn't come close to achieving.
If you have no physical restrictions, back squats are one of those exercises that make you feel like King Kong. There aren't many exercises that allow you to go quite as heavy as squats. So, in addition to developing that curvy backside which we all love, squats can help develop just about every other muscle in your body.
So what's not to like about squats? They sound magical. How can one exercise give you a booty, while at the same time making you stronger and leaner? Squats are a pain in the ass, no pun intended. Though I may procrastinate and start my week with some bench pressing, I make sure to squat before the week is over. The rewards are too good to pass up. Friends don't let friends skip leg days!