Fitness

Strengthening Squats & Powerful Push-ups

Young man doing push-ups
Photo: © Nicholas Piccillo / 123RF Stock Photo

In our previous interaction with fitness enthusiast and trainer, Prem Mehta, we looked at the basics of fitness training, the precautions to be taken, the diet to be followed and a few basic positions that a beginner could attempt under supervision. In this issue, we’ll look at squats and push-ups in greater detail, especially at the health benefits of each.

TTT: Hi Prem, good to see you again.
PM: Hi. It’s good to be back again.

TTT: So what are we discussing today?
PM: I thought I would elaborate on some of the exercises we spoke about last time especially with regard to the Do’s and Don’ts related to each one and also the specific health benefits of each.

TTT: Sounds great! Why don’t we start with the most basic one — the squat?
PM: A squat involves bringing your body down from an upright position to a squatting position and up again. Some of the things to watch out for while doing a squat — your core has to be tight, your back has to be arched with your chest pushed out and both your legs straight when you start. When you begin the squat, you should start by slowly pushing your hips back and lowering your body down taking care that neither your knees nor your torso extend or bend towards the front.

TTT: What about the position of your hands?
PM: If you are using a barbell, hold it behind your neck with a firm grip, equidistant and slightly wider from the ends of your shoulders. If you are doing a squat freehand, you can cross your hands across your chest with your palms on your shoulders. Another way is to stretch your hands out straight with your palms facing outward. A third way is to extend your arms on either side of your body at shoulder-level with palms facing outward.

TTT: You spoke about the squat being a core and back-strengthening exercise besides its utility in fat loss. What other benefits does one get by doing squats?
PM: Squats improve your stability. For those who have trouble balancing on one leg, for instance, a regular regime of squats will enable them to easily improve their balance. This balance which comes from a strong core will help you perform all other exercises properly since balance or stability is crucial to reaping the benefits of each position. Squats also help in strengthening your quadriceps which in turn will strengthen your knees. Squats also strengthen our most neglected body part, the calves, and improve bone density. In today’s world, where we are rushing all over the place every day, we fail to realize how much body weight is being carried by our legs at all times. It is our duty to strengthen these muscles — an investment in doing this today will help us long into our old age. However, if your posture is wrong, it might end up damaging your knees; hence supervision of an expert is necessary.

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Prem Mehta is a fitness enthusiast and consultant. Over the last decade, he has given personalised training to over 200 individuals and continues to train clients for over 10 hours every day. He can be reached at prem.mehta19@gmail.com

Prem Mehta

Prem Mehta is a fitness enthusiast and consultant. Over the last decade, he has given personalised training to over 200 individuals and continues to train clients for over 10 hours every day. He can be reached at prem.mehta19@gmail.com