Better Than Squats?
Updated: Feb 2, 2022
During all my years of training clients and prepping for competitions, squatting exercises are always at the top of my list for effective muscle toning, booty building, general fitness and weight loss. Squats primarily use your legs and bum (the largest muscles in your body) which means they will burn the most calories when you train them! However, combining a squat with a rowing movement burns even more calories because you're including another large muscle group...your back! Not to forget you're also using your arms and your rear delts (back of your shoulders) in the same movement.
3 Reasons Why You Should Include Squat To Row In Your Program
Squat to row is a great way to warm up quickly because it uses all of your large muscle groups (legs, bum and back) at the same time. Therefore doing 2-3 sets will activate most of your muscles and will take you less than 5 minutes, compared to 10 minutes of cardio which works fewer muscle groups.
The Squat to row exercise will automatically improve your posture as well as strengthen and tone your arms. By drawing your elbows back and pulling the weight towards your belly, your shoulders retract and tense the muscles in your back. This may also help to correct your spine. (read below to find your recommended program)
Most of our lives are spent sitting down at work or travelling to work which has a negative effect on your core (all the muscles around your mid section). Therefore, Squat to row is brilliant for stabilising your core which in turn helps to support your lower back.
3 sets of 12 reps with 60-90 secs rest using moderate weight.
4 sets of 15 reps with 60 secs rest using moderate weight.
4 sets of 25 reps with 30-60 secs rest using moderate to heavy weight.
Squat to row is definitely an exercise of great value and would enhance any workout. Wether you are a novice or an athlete, the benefits are apparent for everyone who trains. Is it better than a squat? In my opinion, yes it is! but only as a warm-up or training at a lower intensity because it engages so many more muscles than a regular squat. That being said the Squat along with the Deadlift, is the king of all strength based exercises.
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Isear, J. J., Erickson, J. C., & Worrell, T. W. (1997). EMG analysis of lower extremity muscle recruitment patterns during an unloaded squat. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 29(4), 532-539.
Caterisano, A., Moss, R. E., Pellinger, T. K., Woodruff, K., Lewis, V. C., Booth, W., & Khadra, T. (2002). The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 16(3), 428-432.
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De Mey, K., Danneels, L., Cagnie, B., Van den Bosch, L., Flier, J., & Cools, A. M. (2013). Kinetic chain influences on upper and lower trapezius muscle activation during eight variations of a scapular retraction exercise in overhead athletes. Journal of science and medicine in sport, 16(1), 65-70.