Your squat, or leg, chain is comprised of all of the muscles in your lower body including your hips, and feet. The primary muscles include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, foot flexors, glutes, and hip muscles.
Squat Chain Exercises
Your squat chain is mostly used in movements that involve changing the distance between your feet and hips. The most common exercises are squats and lunges, but step-ups, hill sprints, calf raises and all forms of locomotion are also squat chain exercises.
A strong and functional squat chain is essential in athletics, fitness and everyday life. It affects everything you do on your feet from walking and standing to jumping, kicking and even sitting on the floor.
Strong legs also play a big role in your quality of life. Being able to easily move can make a big difference in how you interact with the world around you. In addition, many chronic aches and pains are caused by an injury or issue in the lower body. An issue in your ankle can influence the stress on your knees, which then leads to the hips, spine and on up to your neck.
A fit pair of legs is also your secret weapon against body fat. The stronger and more resilient your legs are, the longer and harder you can practice calorie torching activities like running, cycling and hiking.
Squatting is different from sitting. Sitting involves sitting back with your hips and keeping your joints at a 90-degree angle. Squatting movements are about bringing the back of your hips closer to your ankle so your weight drops straight down. This type of motion requires full a full range of motion in the ankle, knee and hip joints.
Modern life involves a lot of sitting which can make squatting difficult. It may be helpful to ease into light squat movements by holding onto something. Suspension straps, posts, and even a partner can help your legs recover from years of sitting.
Your legs are like one of those fancy multi-tools that are capable of a wide range of activities. You use your legs for power, strength, endurance, and stability so it pays to train your legs in multiple ways to fully condition them. Include strength exercises like squats and lunges while supplementing with balance exercises and explosive drills like jumping if they are appropriate for you.
Be sure to strengthen and work your hips too. The muscles in the front and side of the hips tend to be a weak link for many people and it can handicap the amount of force your legs can handle. It’s a lot easier to develop strong legs when your hip muscles are strong as well. Check out this simple, yet complete hip training exercise.