Alessandra Alves is an influencer in Brazil known for her lower body muscle, achieved through plenty of heavy squats. That, and her ability to crush a watermelon between her legs.
Alessandra always loved bodybuilding and started training at 14 years old. Soon after, Alessandra started working as a fitness model and then jumped into bodybuilding.
Alessandra told Truly (opens in new tab), who interviewed her for its Miami Muscle fitness series: “I think it’s beautiful to see a woman lift heavy loads for squats. It’s cool to see people show this strength.”
Today, not only will Alessandra be showcasing her watermelon crushing talents, she will also be attempting to break a squatting record of 150kg. Alessandra hopes her fitness journey will influence others. Alessandra continued: "I want to keep inspiring people, motivating people and keep with the same body that I always wanted and always getting to where I want."
Watch Alessandra attempt the "watermelon challenge" here:
Why do squats?
Squats are incredibly good for anyone. Known as the "king of exercises", it's worth learning how to do barbell squats (and you can check out our guide on the subject in the link) whether your goal is to build strength or lose weight.
Squats activate muscles in the entire lower body, or "posterior chain" of hamstrings, quads, glutes and lower back, as well as your core muscles to keep you stable. By increasing your muscle mass in your lower body, your bones and muscles become denser and you alter your body's fat-to-muscle "body composition" ratio. You'll be able to run faster and exercise longer with more muscle, and consequently, burn more calories in the long run.
Lifting heavy also increases your resting metabolic rate, helping you chew through calories much faster than you normally would. You'll also need to eat more protein to build muscle, which helps with portion control and feeling full: one study published by researchers from Yale University School of Medicine (opens in new tab), among others, found high-protein diets "have considerable beneficial effects on satiety and weight control". Our best protein powder for weight loss guide can help you out.
Even if you're not into bodybuilding, learning to do squats can help you reach other fitness goals. You don't even need a gym to get started: squats at home with the best kettlebells or dumbbells, or even just your body weight, is a great way to build muscle.
How to do a squat
- Stand up tall with your feet roughly shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be held out in front at shoulder level.
- Slowly lower your backside as far as you can by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Your weight should be on your heels.
- Pause for a few seconds, before slowly returning to the starting position.
- Throughout the exercise, your core should be braced, by pulling in your abdominal muscles and holding them in that position.
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