Squats have a wide range of benefits to several muscles in the upper and lower body. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the specific benefits of squat exercises.
Let’s dive in!
Squat exercises and variations
All exercises are not the same. Let’s consider a practical example.
Barbell curls and barbell walking lunges both use barbells, but their effects on the body are different.
Curls target the biceps, while lunges target the glutes and quads. Knowing which part of the body you want to build is crucial to picking the right exercise for you.
However, squats benefit virtually the whole body.
We’ll talk more about the benefits later, but we can assure you that you will only appreciate them more after reading this article.
Squats primarily targets are the muscles in the lower body.
Note the use of the word ‘primarily,’ as squats also benefit several muscles in the upper body. The main muscles targeted in the lower body are the:
- Glutes, including the gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus
The quads and hamstrings are found in the thigh, in the front, and the back of the thighs, respectively. The adductor is in the groin, and the glutes are in the buttocks.
Other muscles in the upper body that also benefit from squats are:
- Abdominal muscles, including the rectus and transverse abdominis
Benefits of squat exercises
1. Burn calories fast
The common exercises people turn to when trying to burn calories are aerobic.
However, there are other ways to burn calories that do not involve running or swimming. The squat is one of those ways.
2. Strengthens the core
The core muscles are very important in the body, as they are responsible for bending, turning, balance, and standing.
Exercises like push-ups and plank have been used for ages to develop the core.
But recent studies, like one conducted in 2018, have found that squats can provide even more activation of those muscles than the plank. So again, no more excuses.
3. Improves physical performance
People who participate in athletic sports can attest that more strength and speed correspond to better performance.
Therefore, exercises that boost speed and strength will improve athletic performance. How do squats enter the picture? Well, simple.
4. Improves posture
Poor posture is common today due to many different factors. One of those factors is the strength of the muscles in the core, legs, and back.
Squats target all these muscles and can, therefore, help to improve posture.
You still need some stretching exercises and physical activity, but squats have to be a staple in your workout session if you are trying to improve your posture.
It is even better not to wait until your posture is poor before you start exercising.
5. Has several variations
There are many different variations for squats. With weights and without weights; on one leg and both legs; etc.
These variations make it easy to remain motivated to work out.
Exercises can get boring real quick, but with squats, you can switch to another variation when you get bored with one exercise.
6. Lowers the risk of injury
The American Council on Exercise states that including squats in your workout sessions can strengthen tendons, bones, and ligaments.
When these are stronger, the risk of injuries during exercise or normal daily activities will significantly reduce.
7. Maintains bones and joints
Squats engage several muscles across the body. When your muscles are healthy, the probability of your joints being healthy is very high.
The same applies to bones. Bones adapt to the pressures on the body. Squats are load-bearing exercises and, therefore, help to strengthen the bones.
8. Improves flexibility
As we age, our muscles, ligaments, and tendons lose their elasticity. Lower elasticity means lower flexibility.
If this loss in muscle elasticity persists, simple tasks like bending and other daily tasks become very painful.
Squats involve bending and stretching, which contribute to higher elasticity and more flexibility.
9. Builds lower body muscles
The lower body muscles are responsible for most of the movements and activities we perform every day. One of the important benefits of squat exercises is that it build lower body muscles.
The glutes, calves, quads, hamstrings, etc. are all involved in these movements. Squat exercises target these muscles in the body.
When these muscles are strong and flexible enough, you can perform simple daily tasks painlessly.
10. Improve balance
Have you ever lived with a very old person? If your answer is yes, you will have noticed how difficult it is for many of them to maintain their balance.
The same applies to living with infants just learning how to walk.
Their bones and muscles are not strong enough, and the risk of losing their balance and falling is high.
Squats improve leg strength, both the bones and muscles, which, ultimately, leads to better balance.
Squats are critical to any full-body workout.
You can exercise with weights or without them, but you need to be extra careful when exercising with weights.
That should probably go without saying. Don’t go beyond your limit and give your body enough time to rest after every session.