Squatting is one of the best exercises you can do for your body. It mostly focuses on your legs and glutes. But it is also great for your abs and overall stamina.
But, although squatting is a relatively simple move, it causes a lot of strain. Even more so if you decide to add in weights.
Because squatting is so simple and does so much, it’s tempting to do it every day. But should you squat every day? What are the benefits of squatting? Should you do any kind of workout every day?
Read on to check out our guide to squatting and to find out how often you should squat, as well as how often you should rest.
Should you Squat Every Day?
First up, let’s answer this important question. Squatting does amazing things for your body. But it can also make you feel amazing.
So it’s understandable why you would want to squat every day. But it’s not the best idea. You won’t cause too much injury if you only do a few squats every day. But you don’t want to strain your body too much.
If you squat every day, you are putting a lot of strain on your leg muscles and joints. Your body then needs time to recover from this strain. But, if you repeat the strain every day, your body won’t have time to recover. This can potentially cause injury.
It can also affect your progress. If you don’t allow your body to rest, then it won’t build up strength and muscle. So while squatting every day might sound like something that will make you as strong and muscular as possible, it will actually hinder your progress.
This is why people refer to “leg day” and “arm day”. You should work out specific areas on specific days. Some days it’s a great idea to do a full-body workout. And some days it’s best to not workout at all.
Why People Suggest Squatting Every Day
So, why exactly do people talk about squatting every day? It’s partly because many people love squatting and want to know if exercising in the same way every day will help perfect their strength and form.
But there has also been a workout regime that promotes squatting every day. This regime was introduced by Bulgarian Olympic weightlifting coach, Ivan Abadjiev. Abadjiev was a legend of weightlifting as he coached 12 Olympic champions, 57 world champions, and 64 European champions during his 32 year career.
The regime of squatting every day might not sound too difficult. But it was ruthless and grueling. Athletes were forced to workout excessively and even made to take drugs to improve their performance.
Abadjiev's reputation and training method became well-known in professional weightlifting. And so naturally became known in amateur weightlifting.
We don’t think we really need to say it, but we’re going to anyway: this is not a regime to recreate. Even for professional athletes, this is an excessive and dangerous method of exercise.
It really isn’t necessary for anyone, let alone a recreational weightlifter, to recreate this kind of regime. So, now you know the origins of intense weightlifting training, which included squatting every day, you’re hopefully backing off the idea.
The Science of Frequent Weight Training
There has been a good deal of research into how frequent exercise, especially frequent weight training, affects the body.
As we have already mentioned, and will mention again, exercise is a great way to make yourself feel good in both your body and your mind. But, if you do the same workout every day, such as powerlifting and squatting, you will eventually do more harm than good.
Squatting every day might sound like the workout of someone who enjoys squatting or wants to build up their glutes. But, as shown above, it is an often used method of weight training. Squatting every day is known as a form of high frequency weight training.
It goes without saying that, if you practice something regularly, then you’re going to get better at it. But, no matter the skill, you will always need to take breaks.
Although several pieces of research have shown mixed results, the general consensus is that squatting every day is not necessary. There is no direct correlation between training frequency and strength gains. So, if you squat every day, you’re simply wasting time that could be spent working on other areas or resting.
The best option is to squat once or twice a week. Weight training twice a week compared to once a week will improve strength gains. But weight training every day is unnecessary (and potentially damaging and dangerous).
Pros of Squatting
Just because you shouldn’t squat every day, that definitely doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t squat at all. As mentioned earlier, squatting does amazing things for your body. Although it does cause a decent amount of strain, it’s still a simple move that you can do very slowly.
Here are just a few ways that squatting (both with and without additional weights) is great for you:
Strengthens Thigh Muscles
Although squatting is often touted as the best exercise for building your glute muscles (and it is definitely one of the best), it’s also great for building strength in your legs. This is especially true of your thighs.
When you squat, you will be moving as though you’re sitting on a very low chair. And this is going to take a lot of leg muscle. Doing this regularly will build up muscle and strength in your thighs. It won’t have quite as much of an impact on your calf muscles. But it will go some way towards building muscle across your entire lower body.
We probably don’t need to tell you why strong legs are a benefit of squatting. But if you’re not sure, just think about how much you use your legs. Your legs are your foundation and building up muscle in them is a great way to help with other exercises (especially cardio such as running).
It will also help with your overall posture and strength. You might feel pretty wobbly and unsteady the day after a leg workout. But the next day you will feel incredibly strong.
Strengths and Builds Glutes
You probably already knew this one. We’re not going to tell you to get started with a Kardashian workout (Kim apparently does 1,000 squats a day…).
Squatting will do great things for the muscles in your backside. They will help to make your backside bigger and rounder. Which is great if that’s the sort of look you’re going for. But it’s also great for general strength.
Strengthening your glutes can help provide a strong foundation for the rest of your body. This will help with posture, alleviate lower back pain, and take some of the strain away from your joints. So, squatting is great for building up your booty. But it has a lot of other great benefits as well.
“Core” seems to have become a fitness buzzword in recent years. Everything seems to now benefit your core and everything needs to be done using core strength. While it’s over-used by people trying to convince others that they can build a six-pack with just a few moves. Squatting really does work your core.
When standing up after squatting, you have likely felt like you have worked out your abs as they will feel tight. This is because squatting, when your form is correct, also causes the abdominal muscles to tighten and contract. Squatting won’t have as much of an impact as a direct core and abdominal workout. But it’s a nice side effect.
Building core strength is great if you want more defined abs. But having a strong core will help you in your everyday life and in other workouts. It’s called the core for a reason. This is because it’s in the center of your body, but also because you use your core in almost every exercise.
No matter which body part you’re working on, your core will be working to provide strength and support. So, working out your core, even with just a few squats, will provide you with great stability and a great foundation for other exercises. It will also help with posture and upper body strength.
Cons of Squatting
Potential Injury and Strain
As has already been mentioned, squatting causes a lot of strain on the body. This is one of the reasons why it is such an effective exercise. But this means that you are also putting a lot of strain on your joints. Especially your knees and hips.
To avoid injury, you need to make sure that your form is correct. Otherwise, you can cause excessive strain or even permanent damage.
If you want to squat regularly, then you should incorporate exercises into your workouts that strengthen the knees and hips. Although, of course, squatting will strengthen these areas. It’s a good idea to find other exercises that focus on building up strength and resilience in the joints. This should be done outside of squatting sessions and without weights (at least at first).
This will not only reduce the potential for injury. But it will also allow you to squat even better and push yourself further. So it’s a win-win.
Neglecting Other Areas
The most common stereotype is that people skip leg day in favor of working out their arms. But this isn’t the case for everyone. Especially those who are more keen to build up strength than tone and definition.
If you’re looking to build overall strength, then you need a strong foundation. Squatting can give you this. Squatting with weights will work out your entire body. But only to a certain extent. The majority of muscles used in squatting are located in the legs and hips.
Even if you power lift with weights, your back and shoulders aren’t working nearly as hard as your legs. So, while you use your whole body to squat, you’re not giving your whole body the same attention.
You will still need to focus on exercising other areas of your body. If you squat every day, you’re not allowing yourself the time and energy to exercise those areas properly. If you squat every day, especially if it’s the first exercise of your workout, then you will potentially be too tired to really reach your edge if you then go on to exercise other areas.
This means that, not only will you be focusing on an exercise that you might not be properly recovering from, you’re not giving the other parts of your body the energy and attention they need. So, squatting every day will potentially do more harm than good.
As well as putting an intense strain on your body, doing such an intense exercise every day can be mentally draining. Some days your body will be telling you that you need to rest. Others, it will be begging you to get up and get moving.
Squatting can be great for your state of mind as it can make you feel strong, powerful, and give you a sense of accomplishment. But some days you might find yourself waking up without the physical or mental energy that you need to squat. If you decide to skip it, then you will spend the rest of the day feeling guilty.
You will then likely feel as though you need to make up for this skipped day at your next session. Even if you only push yourself a little, you can potentially go too far and hurt yourself. This then begins the mindset that exercise is a way of punishing yourself or your body.
Although there is nothing wrong with being disciplined about your workouts. Pushing yourself too hard, both in your body and your mind, will only hurt you in the long run.
How Often Should You Squat?
So, if you shouldn’t squat every day, how often should you squat? As we have already mentioned, squatting is a very popular exercise. You might be okay squatting every other day.
But we wouldn’t really recommend this either. Try to give at least two days between each session. This means that you shouldn’t do more than two or three sessions a week.
This will allow your legs to recover from the workout and build the muscle back stronger. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise at all on the days that you don’t squat.
On these days, you can do arm workouts, back workouts, or ab workouts. You should alternate your workouts and make sure you do varied exercises. This is much better than doing a full body workout every day. It will give your body time to rest and recover. It will also limit the potential for injury.
Alternating your workouts is better for your body in general. It will reduce the strain and build up your muscles stronger. If you squat too often, all you will be doing is putting strain on your muscles.
You won’t allow them to recover and build back stronger. So, while squatting every day sounds like the best way to build up muscle, you will actually be reducing the amount of muscle you can build. So it’s not worth it for many reasons.
As well as not allowing your body to rest and recover, repeating the same exercise every day will cause your body to become used to it. When your body first experiences a certain movement, especially one that causes strain and uses a lot of muscle as squatting does, it will begin to build muscle in that area.
Gradually, that area will become stronger and more defined. But, eventually, this building of muscle will level off and no progress will be achieved.
To progress more, you need to change up your workouts. This can include doing exercises other than squats, increasing the reps, increasing the sets, or increasing the amount of weight. This will cause your body to begin building muscle again.
So, squatting every day can be bad for your body. But if you squat in the same way with the same weight every day, then the exercise will eventually stop having any kind of effect.
How to Avoid Injury While Squatting
As we have mentioned, squatting can cause injury. You can strain or pull muscles in your back, your glutes, your thighs, and your hips. These are just temporary injuries. If you squat incorrectly or too regularly, then you can risk permanent damage.
Depending on how and where you work out, it’s a good idea to consult a professional. Squatting is a common and popular exercise but that doesn’t mean you can’t hurt yourself doing it. If you have the budget for it, working out with a personal trainer is a great way of perfecting your form.
PTs are professionals who will be able to watch your workout and correct your form. They will also be able to notice if your form has shifted into a way that might cause damage.
If you don’t have the budget for a PT, or just prefer working out alone, the next best option is squatting in front of a mirror. A full length mirror will allow you to watch your form and see if you’re squatting properly. It can be difficult to know without actually seeing yourself.
But, once you get the form correct, you will become used to the shape and be able to naturally feel when it’s right. (We’re not saying that you have to do every workout in front of a mirror).
Another good way to make sure you squat correctly and don’t injure yourself is by following exercise videos. These can be easily found on YouTube or Instagram. Try to find videos with professional trainers and athletes. There are some fitness influencers who will share workout videos but aren’t trained themselves.
Why Rest is as Important as Work
Working out feels great and does great things for your body and your mind. But it’s important to remember that rest is just as essential as working out.
Whether you love working out and try to move your body every day, or if you struggle to exercise more than once or twice a week, you need to remember the importance of rest.
Working out every day really isn’t a good idea. As amazing as it might feel, you will actually be doing more harm than good. Rest is important for your body. Just think how great you feel after a good night’s sleep. You feel more awake in your mind. But your body needs to rest and recover too.
So it’s important to have days off and rest days. On these days, it’s still a good idea to move your body. Go for a walk or do some stretching. Or just dance around your kitchen to your favorite song for 5 minutes. Just try not to put any strain on your body.
If you do, then you will potentially hurt yourself. Movement and exercise are amazing for your mind and body. But, if you push yourself too hard and work out too often, then you will only end up hurting yourself.
So, as much as we’re sure you love squatting. It’s definitely a good idea to move around as much as you can and squat often. Just be gentle with your body and let it rest when it needs to. This will give you the energy and strength to squat even more next leg day!
Should You Be Squatting Every Day?
Although we have spent most of this article telling why you shouldn’t squat every day. There will be some people who will still want to do it.
If you are a regular weightlifter, then squatting every day might be okay for you. But, this should only be at the advice of your coach, physio, and doctor. You should consult everyone who works on your workout regime before taking on such a strenuous exercise.
If you are an amateur and just enjoy squatting and powerlifting at the gym, then squatting every day is not a good idea. If you simply want to build up muscle and become more toned and strong, squatting a few times a week will definitely be enough.
But, if you still want to try squatting every day, speaking with a PT will help you plan out your workout and give you more guidance.
If Your Choose to Squat Every Day
If you have consulted professionals and decided that you will begin squatting every day, then there are a few things you should do to achieve the best results.
- Vary the weight and number of repetitions. This will provide the best results as it will stop your body becoming too used to the workout. If you do the same exercise with the same amount of weight and same number of repetitions every day, then it will eventually stop having an affect on your body.
- Build strength in your joints. As we have already mentioned, squatting can cause a great deal of strain on your joints. Make sure to incorporate other exercises that will complement squatting.
- Rest. Even when squatting every day, you should still regularly take days off. These can be incorporated into your workout regime and don’t have to happen too regularly if you don’t want them to. You can rest once a week if that has been the choice of you and a professional. These rest days can involve no exercise at all. Or these can be the days you spent building up joint strength.
So, overall, the answer is no, you shouldn’t really squat every day. It will put a great deal of strain on your joints and won’t allow your body enough time to recover.
So, while squatting every day might cause some progress and changes in your body, to begin with, this will gradually level off. This is because your body isn’t recovering from the workout and because it’s getting too used to the exercise.
That said, we absolutely recommend moving your body in some way every day. You should take rest from intense training, especially intense weight training.
But taking a walk, stretching, or just listening to your body and giving it the rest it needs is much better for you than intensely working it out every day.