Cannonball squats are a more complicated version of your usual squats putting your balance and grit to the test.
In this exercise, your feet should always be together and your toes facing somewhat outwards.
As you perform this workout, you will notice that you utilize more joints to do this squat on a constricted surface as compared to a regular squat where your feet are shoulder-width apart.
Consistently do this exercise with a light weight before advancing into heavier weights.
This workout really puts a lot of pressure on your knees, ankles, hips and sometimes even your back.
So, if you are a beginner, are experiencing or have already existing injuries you are advised to either go slow or not do this squat variation whatsoever.
WHAT TO DO
- Begin this exercise with your posture upright and your feet close to each other.
- Your toes on the other hand should slightly face outward.
- After, gradually go near to the ground by lowering your hips such that they are lower than your knee with regards to height.
- Keep your back as upright as you can as you bend your knees to perform the squat.
- Try and find balance while at this position then stretch your legs with vigor so as to lift yourself up back to the original position.
- If you choose to use weights, carry it with both your hands ensuring that it’s not overwhelming you.
- As you lower your body, your weights will follow and this will add a bit of challenge, really working your muscles.
WHAT MUSCLES DO CANNONBALL SQUATS WORK?
This exercise works your quadriceps, made up of four-headed muscles; your vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius and rectus femoris.
The rectus femoris muscle is engaged less during squats while the other three are worked especially when you stretch your knee to do the first portion of this workout.
The three muscles aid in knee motion thus a strong pair of quads will really come in handy as we perform this set of squats.
Making your quadriceps strong is important as you use it every day in activities like; walking and running.
The calves are activated anytime a squat is carried out precisely the soleus and gastrocnemius muscle.
These muscles make up your calves are engaged especially for stability during the squat.
The gastrocnemius muscle is located right underneath the knee on the back side of your leg
On the other hand, the soleus is found at the front of the gastrocnemius.
Every time you do this exercise, you use these muscles that help with stabilization, forward movement of your knees when they contract.
You also end up enduring the pressure that comes from doing cannonball squats by enduring muscle fatigue.
When you do this exercise, you lower your hips by extending them working your glutes that are made up of; the gluteus maximus, minimus and medius.
The first two mainly help extend your hips as your knees move forward to stand upright
Specifically, the gluteus maximus the largest muscle of your glute provides stability during hip flexion.
The gluteus medius found on the side of your glute aids in hip abduction.
Your aim is to have strong glutes as they are key to a well-executed cannonball squat, done without strain.
CANNONBALL SQUATS EXERCISES BENEFITS
Consistent execution of this exercise will in turn lead to stronger calves, glutes and quadriceps reducing the susceptibility of knee, leg and ankle injuries.
Working these muscles will improve the health of the bones and ligaments surrounding your legs making them firm and healthy.
Doing this workout puts your muscles to trial with regards to stability and resistance to muscle exhaustion.
Every time you perform this resistance training workout, you better your knees, ankles and leg muscles by working them out.
To get to pro level, start with less sets so that you don’t injure yourself
In time, your muscle stability will be so much better and you can be able to undertake any coordination and balance activities.
HELPS WITH WEIGHT LOSS
If you have extra weight especially leg muscles, this exercise will help firm up your big muscles making them smaller.
This exercise is also perfect for burning calories and adding it in your workout plan will help you cut weight especially from your ankles and knees
ALTERNATIVES TO CANNONBALL SQUATS
Step-ups are a great alternative particularly if you are already struggling to do normal squats.
To start this simple exercise, look for a box, bench or anything you can step on.
From the floor put your right foot on the bench, your knee curving at a 90-degree angle then, lift your left foot on the step in an upright position.
Stand on the bench then step down your right foot then your left to the ground.
This exercise is literally stepping up and down a foot at a time so as you continue you can increase your pace or add a light dumbbell to make it a little bit challenging.
If done correctly, lunges will engage your glutes, calves and quads making it a great substitute exercise.
To do lunges, begin in a standing posture then extend your feet till they are hip-width apart.
Make sure that you engage your core as you place your left foot forward at a 90 degrees angle stance as you bend your knees without arching your back.
Step back by returning your left foot to the original position.
Repeat this exercise as you alternate your feet.
You will need a bar to do deadlifts.
- With your feet shoulder-width apart, grip the bar with both hands for stability by moving your hips in front while still maintaining a straight back.
- Lift and lower the bar while keeping your breathing in check as this will work your muscles much more effectively.
- Keep your spine steady and your head in a neutral position for the best results.
CANNONBALL SQUATS MISTAKES TO AVOID
Throughout this entire exercise, your knees should face forward and they should not knock or touch each other.
Bumping your knees will decrease the efficiency of this exercise and you may end up working the wrong muscles.
OVERDOING THE EXERCISE
There is a reason why this exercise is classified as a harder variation of regular squats.
For this, don’t overdo it as this will result to overworking your muscles.
Know and understand the depth that you can do your squat by measuring how far below you can go.
Follow through with this depth and improve slowly as you go.
ARCHING YOUR BACK
Bending your back during this exercise will increase proneness of you getting injure.
Keep your torso as straight as possible as you engage your knees in a forward motion.
The decision to include cannonball squats should lie solely on the sensitivity of your ankle, knee and leg muscles
This is because they undergo a lot of tension that can result to injury.
Follow the right technique and add weights when you are capable of doing bodyweight cannonball squats.
When done properly, cannonball squats will really benefit you.
Remember that this workout can be hard on body parts like your ankles, knees, hips, and back even.
For this, if you implement it in your workout regimen, eat nutritious foods to keep your muscles strong and follow through by using the right technique.