The world seems to have gone squat crazy in recent years, as the rise of the defined derriere has taken over among both celebrities and pop culture figures.
However, the squat was highly popular as an exercise long before its prominence today, due to the incredible results it can create for various different athletes as well as bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weight lifters.
The key benefit of the squat is that it’s a full-body exercise that engages various muscles in both the upper and lower body, and is dynamic as it works these different muscles. This creates a very efficient exercise that can scale incredibly well and allow people to pursue amazing results in both their fitness goals as well as their appearance.
But how do squats actually produce these results? Aren’t there other exercises and workouts which target the whole body?
Of course, there are.
But none are as dynamic as the squat and none allow for as much resistance to be applied, making the weighted squat, in particular, the holy grail of all the various weight training exercises.
To help convince you of the benefit of squats, we’re going to look at exactly what squats do in a little more detail, to show just how important they are and why you should never, ever, skip leg day.
For a lot of people, one of the key benefits of the squat is the sheer difficulty of it, or the ability to add a lot more resistance and weight than almost all other exercises.
In human beings, the biggest muscles are all located in the legs, despite how much more admiration the muscles of the upper body tend to attract.
Engaging the legs and working them out effectively with weighted squats is one of the absolute best ways to burn calories, as they require a lot of energy to exert the force they put out.
While running and other cardio exercises can burn calories reasonably well, it is surprising how many calories you can burn from a leg workout centered around squats, as well as how the afterburn effect of weight training can continue to burn calories after training has finished.
Add to this the fact that squats also target various other muscle groups in the body, and you can see the benefits of this exercise pretty clearly for weight loss. This is why so many modern workout programs rely on the squat, even unweighted, as a key component of their regime.
While isolation exercises that target specific muscles are great for maximizing your performance and gains, compound exercises are where the real work of weight lifting is done, and there is no compound exercise more comprehensive than the squat.
This is due to the simple fact that squats recruit more muscle groups than any other exercise, and that the level of weight that squatting allows you to use is far more than almost any other exercise, except in some cases.
This means the level of resistance is among the highest it can be for a particular person when using squats, putting their body and muscles under maximum strain, thus delivering optimal progress and development in both strength and muscle acquisition. The main muscles targeted and built by squats are;
- The legs, naturally, particularly the quadriceps and thighs, hamstrings, and calves, all of which are a major driving force in actually lifting the weight during a squat.
- The glutes are also absolutely essential and heavily targeted by squats, which is why they are so popular today among models and celebrities striving for a more bombastic behind.
- The core, as well as the back, are also key areas of the body targeted by squats secondarily, due to the fact that they don’t play a major role in overcoming the initial resistance but provide absolutely crucial support to the rest of the body, allowing it to lift and hold the weight in the first place.
If you’re someone who struggles with stomach definition or wants to start seeing more visible abdominal muscles, squats are definitely something you should use to help carve out and strengthen your core.
We’ve already talked about compound exercises a little, but it bears mentioning again that the squat is the best of all the compound exercises available. It targets so many areas of the body simultaneously that it’s used by almost all athletes in various sports due to the incredible overall benefit to strength, speed, balance, posture, and power that it has.
This is a tricky one, as if done incorrectly squats can have a negative impact on your posture. But this is true of all exercises, so it isn’t exactly surprising that this is the case.
If done correctly and with good form, however, squats can have a major impact on your body, not just in its muscle mass and fat percentage, but also in its posture and how you carry yourself. The movement of the squat, as well as the muscles it develops, can help correct and relieve posture issues and provide immense benefits.
Naturally, this should be prescribed by a physiotherapist and monitored by a personal trainer to ensure you are using the correct technique and not worsening your issues.
Improved Bone Strength
There has been much discussion over the years about how weight lifting can help with bone strength, and squats provide the biggest benefit of all due to their ability to use maximal resistance and target various key areas of the body at once.
Weight training, particularly intensive exercises like squats, can have a huge impact on your testosterone levels, significantly increasing them which can lead to further improvements in physical performance naturally.
Squats are one of the best fat-burning activities due to their dynamism and the fact that they recruit so many muscles simultaneously.
This is another reason why squats are so popular today. People find it increasingly difficult to keep the fat off, and finding efficient and effective means of doing so is key, and squats are the perfect answer to this.
Squats can lead to impressive results and not only help burn fat faster, but build muscle faster creating a cycle of fat burning, as the more muscles you have and build the more fat you burn, and the more the muscle becomes both bigger and more visible.
It’s a sort of sustaining cycle of improvement that can lead to incredible results and transformations.
Squats help improve overall strength due to the fact that they target so many muscle groups and develop the stabilizing muscles so effectively.
Stabilizing muscles are often recruited for various compound exercises besides squats, but the benefit of squats will rub off on all of them to improve your overall strength and capabilities with various other exercises.
This is one of the reasons why squats should ideally be a main focal point of your workout routine, especially if you’re serious about building muscle and improving your strength considerably.
This is the reason why many people will incorporate squats into their workout more than once a week and will take every opportunity to reap the benefits this exercise can provide them with.
Finally, squats provide confidence.
The combined benefits and sense of reward squats provide are almost second to none. Make no mistake, while it is highly effective, it is not easy, particularly as the weight starts to increase. The strain of squatting can be immense, and it requires not only physical strength but massive mental toughness to face down three to five sets of weighted squats several times a week. They are immensely taxing on the body, but this is what makes them so effective.
Finishing a set of squats will make you feel a sense of accomplishment few other exercises can match and will fill you with motivation and determination, as well as help you to feel more confident due to the effect of the greater strength and muscle mass squatting results in.