Strong legs are key to promoting total body fitness. The most effective exercise for achieving strong legs is the power or standing squat,a basic lower body exercise that’s practiced by (no surprise) squatting, usually with a weighted barbell over the shoulders, and with the assistance of a piece of equipment known as a squat stand. Squat stands, also known as the standing squat stand, the power squat rack, or the bench squat stand, help the person doing squats by providing a platform for the barbell at the beginning and end of the exercise – and anywhere in between, should the exerciser needs it.
Doing squats (with a squat stand), the home gym exerciser can not only increase the strength of the quadriceps of the thigh, but also the hamstrings, the glute muscles of the hips, the gastrocnemius muscles of the calves and the core muscles of the torso. Squat stand exercise trains the strength and running muscles of the legs, promotes hip strengthening, provides sustained hip stretch, and is an excellent periodized training method that can be used in many types of sports.
Squat Safety & Buying In contrast to aerobic health club or home gym equipment (such as elliptical fitness equipment), squat stands are usually simple pieces of equipment, but since squatting can be a physically demanding exercise with potentially dangerous amounts of weight, they’re so essential to squat safety, so care should be exercised in purchasing them. Buyers in the market for a squat stand should look for heavy, all-metal construction, with reinforced welded seams, and if at all possible, should buy a squat stand from a company that specializes in commercial gym equipment, such as Precor, York, and Icarian Fitness Equipment. Remanufactured or used squat stands should be purchased only from reputable fitness equipment dealers who offer a guarantee.
Squat Stand Alternatives While squatting with a squat stand provides a solid foundation exercise for the hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as good overall hip strengthening, there are other worthy pieces of home gym equipment that promote leg and lower body strength. Thigh machines come in a variety of shapes and forms and generally provide leg extensions (the natural bending and unbending of the leg, usually from a seated position), a lateral step movement (moving the leg to the inside or outside), or an inner thigh lift (moving the leg from a prone position). While squatting with the assistance of a squat stand will strengthen the entire leg, a thigh machine may target more specific muscles groups. When used in combination, the thigh machine and power squat compliment each other extremely well,with the power squat providing a foundation exercise and the thigh machine providing similar movement, as well as the lateral step or inner thigh lift movements that may be beneficial to activities such as skiing, or to building specialized muscle groups such as running muscles.
Which squat stand or thigh machine should you buy? The popular Smith Machine is one of several stand squat stands that uses counter-balanced weight to make the squatting motion smoother and to enhance squat safety. The Multi Hip provides a lower body hyperextension exercise that utilizes the lateral step movement for hip flexion The Plate-Loaded Leg Press, such as the Precor 560, provides power squat functionality in a seated position- another approach to squat safety.