There may be no better exercise than the squat. It builds muscle, strength, power, and overall body coordination. But what about squat alternatives? This is where the pulse squat can be a great tool in your training program. The pulse squat isn’t just a good exercise alternative, but it may be a great fat-burning tool.
The pulse squat is simple: you hold a deep squat position and slightly move—or pulse—up and down. This is a great way to fatigue the muscles of the lower body, which can lead to more muscle growth and burn calories at the same time.
The muscles of the lower body don’t have time to relax during the movement and it leads to more muscle fiber engagement. This can lead to greater gains in muscle. The pulse squat can also make everyday activities such as walking and climbing the stairs easier.
This article will be a look at the pulse squat, how to do it, and the benefits you can get from them.
How to Do the Pulse Squat
- Stand upright with your feet around shoulder-width position. Your feet may turn slightly outward, but you don’t want them to turn too far out.
- Keep your chest up and your arms out in front of you
- Inhale through the nose, keep your core tight, and slowly lower your hips down under control into the squat position
- Breathe out as you come upward from the squat, focusing on driving through the heels of your feet, but you want to stop where your legs are around parallel to the ground. It should look like you are sitting in a chair
- While you stay in this position, begin to pulse up and down, lowering just a few inches up and down
Tips: keep the focus on your quads and glutes while you are pulsing. They should stay tight and you should still keep your core engaged. Make sure not to drop your head downward, keep it up and facing forward, and don’t forget to breathe through the movement.
Also, make sure your knees don’t extend out past your feet.
Pulse Squat Benefits
Pulse squats probably won’t replace your regular back squats, but they come with their own series of benefits that can improve athletic performance, everyday life, and can boost your fitness in other areas. Here are just a few of the pulse squat benefits.
Shorten Your Stride Length
If you are a sprinter—or are in any sports that require sprinting—pulse squats may shorten your stride length and give you more power. Because the pulse squat doesn’t require any stretch in the hips or the knees, the focus is on the large muscles of the legs: specifically the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. This can help shorten your stride length. This is important for Olympic athletes to weekend athletes, as the shorter stride can produce more explosive running power. There are also coordination improvements that come from being in the pulse squat position that can also improve your running.
Jumping and Running Improvements
We can see how the pulse squat can improve your running, but it also can boost your jumping power. This, again, comes from the extra glute, quad, and hamstring activation that happens during the pulsing motion. This also helps improve muscular endurance, which can improve your running. Pulse squats can also improve other exercises, such as lateral hops or box jumps.
Pulse squats can also improve hip joint flexibility and ankle strength. This can help improve your explosion off the ground and ability to drive upwards. Ankle strength is an underrated aspect of running and jumping power, and The Journal of Sports Medicine shows how important it is for sprinting.
Pulse squats also improve your ability to land back down under control. This is important in virtually every sport and can help prevent injury.
Constant Muscle Engagement
Throughout the pulse squat, your muscles are under constant engagement. The muscles fibers don’t have time to rest and remain active and contracted. This will keep your heart rate up and can lead to more calorie burning.
They are also a great way to boost muscular endurance. This endurance will lend itself to sports that require long periods of running, or just if you spend all day working on your feet.
Decreased body fat is always beneficial and you may find yourself with less leg fatigue over the course of the day.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Anytime you squat, it requires a full-body effort. This is because your legs are the trunk of your body and make up a majority of your weight and musculature. This means that a leg exercise is essentially a whole-body exercise. It takes more coordination, effort, and calories to perform leg exercise. So when you strengthen your legs: you strengthen your whole body.
There is a hormone release that comes from lower body training that naturally stimulates things like testosterone and human growth hormone. These hormones lead to more muscle growth, strength, and fat metabolism.
So not only will pulse squats strengthen your muscles, they will improve coordination, agility, and balance. These are things that not only help in fitness and sports but in your everyday life. Pulse squats will also strengthen your abs because of the engagement required while performing them.
Muscles Used During Pulse Squats
We’ve covered how pulse squats are like a full-body exercise, but here are the particular muscles you will work when doing them:
● Hip flexors
● Core muscles, abdominals, and obliques
● Calf muscles
● Abductors and adductors
The great thing about pulse squats is you can do them anytime, anywhere. They work great in a gym, but can easily be done at home. Pulse squats are a perfect way to end a leg workout. Or, you can include at the end of each set whether you’re doing lunges, split squat jumps, box jumps, or jump squats. They are a great finishing exercise that fatigues the muscle, burns more calories, and can improve your strength and muscle.
Whether you need some more endurance for sports—or just everyday life—pulse squats are a simple exercise to add to your routine. If you can’t get to the gym that day, you can easily add them in, whether it’s at home or even the office.