Squats are a powerful exercise that can make a big difference in your health and strength. Squats are a simple compound exercise where you bend your knees and then stand back up. They might look easy, but they work wonders for your lower body.
Imagine having stronger leg muscles, better posture and even feeling happier – all from doing squats.
In this blog post, we’re going to uncover the incredible benefits of squats that you’ll definitely want to know about.
Muscles targeted in squats
The lower body muscles targeted in a squat include:
- gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius (butt muscles)
- quadriceps (front of the thigh)
- hamstrings (back of the thigh)
- hip flexors
In addition to the lower body, the squat also targets your core muscles. These muscles include the rectus abdominis, obliques, transverse abdominis and erector spinae.
Whether you are young or old, these are the benefits of squats for women:
Strengthen muscles in your legs and lower body
Squats are compound exercises that engage large muscle groups known for their ability to build strength and size in your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes while improving power and stability.
Squat exercises heavily engage the gluteal muscles, contributing to a toned and lifted appearance. It’s one of the best exercises to target your glutes.
Boost athletic performance
Squats increase your ability to jump and the ability to produce power when done explosively. The power also helps with the ability to run faster. So your jumps and sprinting will improve
No equipment needed
You do not need any equipment to do squats. You can do bodyweight squats or squat jumps without any weights or resistance bands and still reap all of the benefits.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. Since the squat strengthens different muscle groups at once and requires a ton of energy to do properly, you’ll increase the number of calories you burn during a set of squats compared to some other leg exercises.
Engages several muscle groups
Squatting involves many muscles and muscles working equals fat burning. Plus you are working some of the largest muscles in your whole body at once. Now that is a win-win combination.
Squats require core stability to maintain an upright posture, leading to strengthened abdominal muscles.
Increased bone density
Weight-bearing nature of squats can help enhance bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis.
Enhanced functional performance
Squats mimic movements used in daily life, such as bending, lifting and getting up from a seated position, leading to improved functional performance.
There are a lot of ways to squat, and though they may be different, they’re all beneficial.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight, chest out, and shoulders down. Your toes should be turned out slightly outward. Engage your core.
- Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Pause, then return to the starting position.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the standard barbell resting on your traps.
- Your arms should make right angles as you grip the bar.
- Keeping your core tight, lower into squat position while keeping your upper body upright
- When reaching the lower part of your squat, push through your heels and return to the starting position
Jump squats are an explosive plyometric exercise that helps build power and burn your quads and glutes.
- Stand with your feet shoulder with apart.
- Squat down about a quarter of the way, and then jump upwards as high as you can.
- Land softly on your feet, and then go directly into the next repetition.
- Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
- Face the anchor point, grab the handles of the TRX bands, and step back and squat down into the starting position. Your feet are hip-width apart and your arms should be fully extended.
- Engage your core and raise your right leg off the ground.
- Sit back, keep a strong core and squat down while pushing the heel of your left foot into the ground as you lower. You should aim to squat down enough to form a 90-degree angle with your left knee.
- Push up through your heel to the standing position while keeping a slight bend in your left knee.
- Repeat then switch to your other foot.
Bulgarian split squat
Bulgarian split squats are basically unilateral exercises, like lunges.
- Stand with your back to a bench or stable surface.
- Place your right foot behind you on the bench and the left foot planted on the ground. This should resemble a lunge position.
- Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands and keep your chest tall and core tight.
- Lunge down to the ground until you’ve reached full range of motion.
- The majority of the weight should be kept over the front foot with the additional weight on the rear foot.
- To stand back up, drive through the heel on your front foot and come back to a standing position.
- Repeat and then switch sides
Dumbbell goblet squat
- Select a dumbbell and position it at the front of your chest with one hand under each edge of the dumbbell.
- Take a deep breath and descend by simultaneously pushing the hips back and bending the knees.
- Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, begin to reverse the movement.
- Keep your abs braced and drive your feet through the floor.
- Drive back to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
- Place a plyometric box or bench behind the squat rack.
- Step under the bar and position yourself so the bar is on your upper back. Position your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Unrack the weight and step back so the box is just behind your feet.
- Keep your core tight and your feet wide with toes pointed slightly out.
- Sit back and bend your knees as you lower your body down to the box with good control.
- Gently tap the box with your butt while keeping your upper body tall. Push through your feet squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to return to starting position.