Coming to think of some of the strength-enhancing workouts, elevated squats should be one of the exercises that come to your mind.
Squats basically target your quadriceps and your glute muscles and with slight variations. They can as well give a serving to your calves.
Squats are very effective when you do them properly. However, sometimes they may prove to be challenging due to poor mobility of the hip and ankle muscles.
If this has been your case then you can first try out the elevated squat. This will improve your lower-body mobility and help you acquire a better form in taking on other squat variations.
Having a compact motion will help you do a full deep squat so that the right muscles are activated.
When your range of mobility is solid enough, you will drive the squat movement from your feet up and not run the risk of overcompensating your back muscles.
Here is the point, if you ever did the standard squat but got nothing out of it, or you feel like you were really straining to do it, this article promises to help you gain, by showing you how to perform the elevated squats properly even with limited hip and ankle mobility.
HOW TO DO ELEVATED SQUATS
- First, stand with your heels on an elevated angle. You can stand on a weight plate or squat wedge if you find one. Now make sure your feet are slightly spread apart and that you have maintained an upright posture. This should be your starting position.
- To improve your balance, keep your arms locked or crossed around your chest. Initiate the move by engaging your core and pushing back your hips then drop down slowly with your back straight into a squat. Drop slightly below your knee level if you can otherwise keep your squat at the knee level.
- Hold on in that position for about two to three seconds then push yourself through your feet to the initial position. Go for as many reps as you can so long as your form permits.
MUSCLES WORKED OUT BY DOING ELEVATED SQUATS
The elevated squat is a multidisciplinary lower body exercise that targets different muscles. Here are some of the muscles targeted.
Quadriceps – the elevated squats are the perfect workout for the quadriceps muscles. Of the four muscles that comprise of the quadriceps: vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and rectus femoris, it is the vastus medialis that is majorly activated by this workout.
Abductors and adductors – these muscles are located on the sides of the thighs and they help to stabilize the hips during the elevated squat movement.
Hamstrings – the hamstring is located at the back of the thigh muscle. Much as the front thigh is impacted almost directly, the back thigh is also slightly called out during the movement.
Core – For almost every type of squat you must engage your core to maintain the perfect balance for your lumbar spine. The core muscles are transverse abdominis, rectus abdominis, obliques, and erector spinae. When the core is engaged, it is strengthened in the process.
BENEFITS OF DOING ELEVATED SQUATS
IMPROVES THE SQUATTING DEPTH
The depth you go when squatting matters, infect it is equating to the level of your gain.
When your ankles are slightly raised on a plank or a plate, you will be in a much more comfortable position to be able to squat deeper.
Practically, think of it as a crutch that decreases the stress on your ankle and hip range of motion.
In case you’ve struggled with poor mobility of the hips or ankles, try squatting with your heels elevated and you will notice the ease of doing it and plus the depth you will be able to go. This deep extension of motion helps in gaining strength and building bigger muscles.
REDUCES THE STRESS ON THE LOWER BACK
Truth be told, squat puts much strain on your lower back and your lumber spine more so, if you descend much lower than 90 degrees.
Positioning your heels on a wedge helps to reduce the stress that is exerted on your lower back. This is because the body remains in an upright posture throughout the movement.
You will need to put much concentration on keeping your back straight during the squat. The elevated position already permits your back to remain upright during the movement.
With the elevated squats, you’re less likely to experience lower back injury and also. It can serve you right when you’ve been doing other heavy squat alternatives and your lower back has had enough strain.
ELEVATED HEEL SQUATS ACTIVATE YOUR QUADRICEPS MORE
By inclining your heels on a plank or a weight plate, you will be targeting your quadriceps muscles directly. The elevated position increases the range of motion to the knee which is controlled by the quadriceps.
EASE OF PERFORMANCE
You don’t need any specialized equipment to do the elevated squats. You can do it anywhere provided you can find something on which to incline your heels.
It is one of those home-based workouts that should come to mind if you’re not planning to hit the gym.
ALTERNATIVES TO DOING ELEVATED SQUATS
Elevated dumbbell squat – the dumbbell squat is one of the basic squats. The variation comes in by using the dumbbell as an additional load when squatting.
Elevated barbell squat- the elevated barbell squat is done just as the dumbbell elevated squat. The difference is that a barbell is used instead of dumbbells.
Front and back barbell elevated squat – this is done by standing on an elevated wedge and then squatting with the barbell placed on your back. Doing the next rep of squat with the barbell in your front shoulders.
MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN DOING ELEVATED SQUATS
ROUNDING YOUR BACK
Curving the back is common among newbies and it is a dangerous habit that can cause severe pain in your lower back and your lumber spine.
The back is supposed to be kept straight for you to avoid unnecessary injuries and lower back pain.
This is a common mistake that happens when the knees collapse inwards. The knees should point forwards in the direction of your toes.
When the knees collapse inwards, there will be much strain on the knees and this may cause injuries on the ligaments.