The squat is a great exercise to build strength and stability. Squatting is also one of the most important fundamental movements in walking, running, and changing direction. It’s no surprise that squats can help supercharge your rucking journey and help you to get stronger generally.
The squat is considered the “king of all exercises”. A healthy human spine requires some degree of flexion or bending, and a strong back can be thought of as a back that can keep its natural curve while performing the movement.
Thus the squatting movement pattern encompasses many physical tasks: it strengthens muscles throughout your body; further, it stretches muscles and soft tissue; it improves balance and proprioception; it increases bone density; and even helps you avoid injury.
How can squats help with rucking? Let’s take a look at what exactly squats are and how they can help you with your rucking along with how you can incorporate them into your workout regimen.
What is a squat?
The squat is an exercise that targets several muscle groups, including your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, inner thighs, and abdominal muscles.
While many associate squats with using weights, you don’t actually need to use weights to benefit from squatting. The movement can be incredibly beneficial, especially when starting out, even if you’re only using your own body weight.
Squatting can help with pain in your knees associated from rucking, by helping to build your body to deal with the weight and time that’s part of rucking.
How to do a body weight squat
1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and with your feet turned out so you open the hip joint. You can either have your hands clasped behind your head or out in front of you to act as counter-balances.
2. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. For a bit deeper exercise, you should go just beyond parallel to the floor.
3. Pause, then return to the starting position.
As part of the movement, keep your abs tight and your eyes looking forward.
Additionally, ensure your heels stay flat on the floor. If you’re unbalanced, you’re not getting the best benefit and you can strain a muscle.
Increasing your muscle strength and endurance through increasing your quadriceps, the squat helps you with the resiliency your body needs to conquer long distances or uneven terrain without tiring out.
Does squatting help with rucking? Absolutely.
Squats can be a great form of exercise for rucking. Squats help with rucking by improving endurance and helping with recovery. They are one of the most effective exercises for leg and glutes development. They will also help with back pain associated with rucking.
Squats can be done anywhere, anytime. They are simple to do, require minimal equipment and provide many health benefits.
In addition to the body weight squat, there are different kinds of squats, with two that will be your best friend: the barbell squat and the front squat.
Once you’re comfortable with body weight squats, let’s talk about barbell and front squats.
What is a barbell squat?
A barbell squat is pretty much what it sounds like: the squat exercise while holding a barbell. A push-type compound exercise, the barbell squat is a great way to add weight to the exercise once you’re comfortable with the body weight squat.
How to do a barbell squat
1. Ensure the bar is on the squat rack just below your shoulder height. At this point load and secure whatever weight you’re putting on the bar (make sure it’s even on both sides).
2. Step underneath the bar and get the bar in contact with your shoulders, gripping the bar with your hands.
3. Lift the bar off the rack using your legs and step away from the rack. With your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly. Tighten your abs.
4. With your head in line with your spine, keep your eyes forward as you bend at the knees and hips to lower your body, keeping your heels flat on the floor. Come down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. For a bit deeper squat, you should go just beyond parallel to the floor.
5. Pause, then return to the starting position, pushing down against the floor and coming up in an explosive manner.
Things to keep in mind:
Your grip on the barbell shouldn’t be too close, you can strain your shoulders.
Always be explosive when you come up out of the squat.
Keep your eyes forward. Looking up can put undue pressure on your spine.
When descending, push your hips back as opposed to primarily lowering yourself by bending your knees.
Will front squats help with rucking? Indeed they will. Let’s take a look at what they are and how they can help.
What is a front squat?
A front squat is very similar to a barbell squat. The front squat uses more mobility. The exercise may be something you consider after you’ve gotten more comfortable with the barbell squat. Here, the barbell is being held in front of you.
This requires more control and more practice when it comes to proper form. The barbell squat will focus on the muscles on the rear of your body. The front squat, meanwhile, focuses on what you think: the front.
When you’re doing a front squat, it’s a similar movement to the barbell squat. But, when you lift the barbell, you are hooking your fingers in an underhand grip on the barbell. Hook your fingers in an underhand grip just outside your shoulders and push your elbows up.
As you can see, the grip can be a little uncomfortable in the beginning and take some getting used to.
The squat can be a powerful tool in your workout arsenal. While squatting is great generally, when it comes to improving your rucking, it can help out a lot.
The exercises focuses on different muscles groups and allows you to gain endurance and power. This will translate to better rucking times. Additionally you will be able to ruck farther before you get fatigued.
Further, the exercise will help with your rucking posture, which is incredibly important.
As always, bear in mind potential overtraining issues.
Onwards and upwards.