If you value and appreciate the functions of your knees during fitness exercises, then you are going to love today’s feature: Spanish squats.
Spanish squat is used to generate strength in the lower extremities without overloading the anterior knee structures. The anterior knee structures can be categorized under four layers namely;
- a superficial layer
- a functional layer containing the extensor mechanism and patellar stabilizer
- an intracapsular extrasynovial layer and
- an intra-articular layer
The knee joint is made up of three bones, that is, the thigh bone (femur), the shin bone (tibia) and the knee cap(patella)
The most common cause of the anterior knee pain is bending and overuse of your knee, leading to high repetitive pressure between the knee cap the femoral groove
This may lead to overload, muscle fatigue, and imbalances. This is usually manifested with soreness and weakness around the knees.
WHAT MUSCLES DO SPANISH SQUATS WORK?
This exercise involves placing a strap behind the knee of a patient and tying the strap to an immovable object. When performed correctly, squats are very safe exercises. The main muscles involved are;
The gluteus maximus is a thick fleshy muscle with a quadrangular shape.
It is a large muscle and plays a major role in the maintenance of keeping your upper body straight. The gluteus maximus muscles attach to many bony components such as the inner ilium and illium Crest.
The hip flexors are a group of muscles near the top of your thighs that play a key role in moving your lower body.
ln addition they help you walk, kick, bend and swivel your hips. But if your muscles are too tight or you happen to make a sudden movement, your hip flexors can stretch or tear.
Quadriceps are the large muscles at the front of the thigh which is divided into four main portions and act to extend the leg.
They are large fleshy muscle groups covering the front and sides of the thigh. The quadriceps consists of four parts namely; erectus femoris, versus lateralis,cactus medialis and cactus intermesius.
The quadriceps are among the largest and strongest muscles in your body. Quadriceps femoris muscles are also referred to as quads. Its main function is to keep your knee stable and help you straighten it.
BENEFITS OF SPANISH SQUAT
Engaging in Spanish squat exercises comes with a number of benefits. Bearing in mind the fact that your knees play a very vital role in your movements during most of your fitness exercises. Some of the outlined benefits include;
IMPROVED ANTERIOR KNEE HEALTH
Knee pain is a common complaint that affects people of all ages. Some causes of knee pains are related to aging or repeated stress on the knees.
Knees may also become painful due to a sprain or strained ligaments, cartilage tears, tendonitis or arthritis. Sleeping in the wrong position can also cause pain in the knee.
It is advisable that you try different positions as you sleep, or put a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your side.
Engaging in Spanish squat will help improve the anterior of your knee and make it remain healthy as you go about engaging in workouts or athletic activities.
Engaging in Spanish squats is a sure way of reducing your worries during fitness exercises since it helps maintain your knees in good shape.
One of the ways of increasing the comfort on your knees is through consuming healthy fats. Healthy fats are capable of increasing joint health and lubrication.
Foods high in healthy fats include salmon, trout, mackerel, avocados, olive oil, almonds, walnuts and chia seeds. The omega-3 fatty acids in these foods will assist in joint lubrication.
SPEED AND POWER
If Spanish squats are done correctly, it helps you gain strength in your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. This in turn helps with developing desirable attributes such as speed and power.
SPANISH SQUAT ALTERNATIVES
As a fitness fan, you could be looking for other exercises similar to Spanish squats which may give you the desired benefits. Look no further. This feature offers you a wide range of exercises to choose from and will surely give you value for your efforts.
DOUBLE LEG SQUAT
The double leg squat is a kind of squat that is performed at an angle of approximately 70⁰ to 90⁰ of knee flex. A deeper angle is generally tolerated for a double leg exercise. This is done with the assistance of a rigid strap fixed on the lower legs.
A goblet squat is a full-body exercise characterized by performing a squat while holding a single free weight, like a dumbbell or kettlebell, in front of your chest.
The goblet squat can easily be regressed and progressed. This makes it a suitable option for beginners. It is also recommended for professionals.
Goblet squats are harder than other squats because you load the weight on your chest and stabilize it with your arms, which are not as strong.
This makes the amount of weight you can lift comparatively lower with goblet squats.
The front squat is a lower-body exercise that will strengthen your legs and hips, especially your quads (thigh muscles). Front squats are the same as back squats, except that the barbell is normally placed across the front side of your shoulders instead of your upper back.
Step by step in doing Spanish squats
- Stand with your hands on the back of your head and your feet shoulder-width apart with your feet turned out slightly to open the hip joint.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor
- Pause, then return to the starting position.
- Repeat the whole cycle.
MISTAKES TO AVOID IN SPANISH SQUAT
Maintaining proper form during an exercise is key to the safety and effectiveness of your performance in the squat movements.
It commonly goes without saying that to err is human. These are some of the mistakes you should always try to avoid if you want to achieve your goals in Spanish squat exercises;
KNEE CAVING IN AND MOVING FORWARD
Correct knee placement is key to squat exercises. Your knees should push outward and not fall over your toe line.
LACK OF DEPTH
Your thighs should reach parallel to the ground in a back squat. If you happen to limit your range of motion then you may not get the full benefits of the squat movement, and worse still you could risk injuring your knees.
Chest dropping happens if you let your chest fall forward and disengage your posterior chain, which is a key component of Spanish movement. Try to roll your shoulders down and back as you keep your gaze forward to help you overcome this mistake.
The Spanish squat is staple management and comes in handy as rehab for jumpers’ knees. With the right knowledge and skills covered in this feature, now you can comfortably give the Spanish squats a try.