Benefits of Squats
While an all-so-popular exercise among bodybuilders, the benefits of squats are for everyone! Because there are many types of squats, and their benefits can be reaped by anyone, from the casual gym-goer to the expert bodybuilder.
The benefits of squats for women become even more critical with age since squats help to keep joints and bones healthy. And of course, there are benefits of squats for weight loss, thanks to the squat’s sure-fire calorie crushing abilities! Not to mention that the squat is also one of the more challenging exercises (hello, it’s you vs. gravity in a big way!).
The undeniable benefits of squats, when performed correctly, is that it keeps your body functioning correctly. In fact, one of the most significant health benefits of squats is how it supports better balance, stability, and mobility. Something everyone needs as we begin to age.
Nevertheless, no matter how beneficial squats are, those benefits are still not the only reasons why you should do squats every day! Yes, there are people out there who try to squat daily. At most, twice a day will be enough to reap the benefits. You can get too much of a good thing.
Now, let’s dive into the health benefits of squats and how to do them properly!
In this article:
How to Squat Properly
How to Squat Properly
As we said, squats have dozens of benefits, and there are just as many benefits of squat variations! However, knowing how to do a basic, bodyweight squat is first and foremost!
How to Do A Bodyweight Squat:
- First, begin with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
- It is essential to keep your chest up, engage your core muscles (your abs), and shift your weight onto your heels as you push your hips back as if you are about to sit in a chair.
- Inhale and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. (If you’re not familiar with performing a squat, having a low chair behind you is a good idea, just in case you lose your balance!)
- As you lower yourself into the squat, you should feel it in your thighs and glutes (your butt!). Also, neither your heels nor your toes should rise off that ground as you squat.
- Pause with your knees over, but not beyond, your toes.
- Exhale and return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes as you come up.
And that’s how you perform a basic squat! Ideally, practice this in front of a mirror so you can keep an eye on your form. Remember, chest up, abs tight, and don’t let your toes or heels raise! If you find that your toes or heels do raise as you squat, that means your leg muscles are tight, so focus on leg stretches to help open up your hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves.
Once you master the basic squat, you can begin trying different variations. The goblet squat, the overhead squat, the traditional barbell squat, and wall squat, and many more. Take time to research each variation and then try them out for yourself!
PRO-TIP: If you have never done the squat before or if it’s been a while, it is best to work your way up to the barbell squat instead of diving right into it. You need to establish your body’s foundation first (aka, strengthen your knees, balance, loosen tight hip and leg muscles, etc.). So progress your abilities by starting with the bodyweight squat, master it, and then move toward the goblet squat, master that, and from there work your way up to the barbell. Ideally, spend 4-6 weeks with the bodyweight squat before moving on. Spend four weeks with each variation, or longer if you feel you need more time. There is no rush!
Benefits of Squats #1: Strengthens Muscles and Reduces Chance of Injury
Incorporating squats into your workout helps strengthen your bones, ligaments, and tendons in your lower body. When you maintain your lower body in this way, you can perform full-body movements with better balance, posture, and mobility. Reinforcing your ligaments, bones, and tendons also help reduce the chance of injury during exercise and in day-to-day activity.
Benefits of Squats #2: Serious Calorie Burning
It’s a common misconception that if you want to burn calories and lose weight, you need to do cardio. While cardio does burn calories, it’s exercises like the squat that can crush calorie burning, help build muscle, and have a more prolonged thermal effect than cardio.
One study from Harvard found that a 155-pound person can burn around 223 calories from performing 30 minutes of weight training, such as the squat. But it’s that aforementioned thermal effect that makes compound movements like the squat the winner of calorie burning. When you perform vigorous weight training, you can still be burning calories as you go about the rest of your day for upward of 36 hours after your workout. In contrast, with traditional cardio, where the thermal effect lasts only a few hours.
Benefits of Squats #3: Build Buns of Steel
If your goal is building up your booty, then squats should become your new best friend.
One of the prime movers (basically, the muscle doing most of the work) in squats is your gluteus maximus, aka, your butt. The gluteus maximus is the largest muscle in the human body and is also a principal player in many day-to-day movements. So working it out contributes to strengthening our daily activities. The rest of the glute muscles also get worked out during the squat, helping establish better stability overall.
But all that gluteus work results in, as the old saying goes, “buns of steel.” So by performing squats, you not only are helping your body with better stability and reduced injury risk, but you’re also working to sport a rocking booty.
The Squat Is a Win-Win Exercise
So when it comes to adding the squat into your regular workout routine, it is a win-win across the board. From the benefits you get regarding your overall health and well-being to that of building a rocking booty. There is a reason why the squat is considered the king (or the queen!) of all exercise.