Functional Movement That Builds Core + Joint Strength
Squats are a functional movement that build core + THASS (where your thigh meets your glutes) strength for every day activities while maintaining a neutral spine that supports your low back and strengthening + stretching your hip, knee and ankle joints, hence the reason to LOVE them!
Squats are part of the 5 functional movements that should be incorporated into our Pilates classes along with planks, lunges, bridging + trunk integration and are found within much of the Pilates repertoire.
Pilates Squat-Based Exercises
- Reformer Footwork Supine
- Reformer Back-Pac Standing Squats + Plie’s
- Reformer Knee Stretches
- Chair + Box Curtsey’s
- Chair Burpees
- Reformer Russian Squats
- Reformer Standing Single Arm Squat + Twist
Benefits of a Squat
- Maintains a neutral spine when picking up heavy load vs bending over;
- Muscular integration of the THASS (glutes + hamstrings) & quadriceps;
- Fundamental movement pattern utilizing + building mobility & strength in multiple joints of the hip, knee and ankle flexion;
- Builds strength for sitting, getting off the toilet, standing up out of a chair, walking, climbing stairs, bending, or carrying heavy loads;
Anatomy of the Squat – Which Main Muscles benefit from a Squat?
Squats mainly target THASS and quadricep muscles. The quads work at the front the leg on the way down and THASS gluteus maximus and medius on the way up to standing.
There are different variations of squats engaging THASS muscles with parallel, lateral and medial femur bone and foot stance, where the legs are straight, turned outwards or inwards.
When the legs are straight the gluteus maximus works and when turned outwards or inwards the gluteus medius is working. Gluteus Maximus is the THASS at the top of your thigh and base of your Glutes and the Gluteus Medius is THASS on the side of your hips.
With standing squats you are working against gravity, which also target upper torso or trunk muscles, therefore squats incorporate full body integration of upper and lower muscles as below.
Overview of working Squat Muscles:
- Quadriceps: Rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis oblique, vastus intermedius (downward phase)
- THASS: Gluteus Maximus + Gluteus Medius (upward phase);
- Hamstrings: Biceps femoris, semitendinosus, semimembranosus;
- Spinal Back Muscles: Erector spinae;
- Inner Thighs: Adductor magnus: posterior fibers;
- Calves: Gastrocnemius, soleus;
- Deep Core Abdominals:Transversus abdominis, multifidus, internal oblique, pelvic floor
- 6-Pack Abdmonial Muscle: Rectus abdominis;
- Side-waist Muscles: External obliques.
Bottom-Line Reason to Love Squats?
Squats work and stretch multiple joints along with your THASS (your bottom), the largest muscle that helps with the functional everyday movement of hip extension to get out of that chair, lift heavy loads, climb those stairs, or that steep mountain hiking, all whilst maintain a good neutral spine, the most supportive posture for your back!