Getting in shape sounds easy but there are many movements to choose from. Find out what the benefits of doing squats are.
You can just do bodyweight squats or if your body is up for it, one of the weighted variations to get more positive effects. Both categories can be great additions to your workout routine.
1. Squats can help you grow and strengthen muscles
You could theoretically do them in a cardiovascular-focused way but squats are typically a resistance training exercise.
In simpler words, they are mainly done to grow and strengthen muscles. Some of the main ones include:
- Quadriceps (front thighs)
- Glutes (butt)
- Hamstrings (back thighs)
- Erector spinae (lower back)
And to some extent your:
- Hip abductors (outer thighs)
- Hip adductors (inner thighs)
Something important to keep in mind is that just doing squats is often not enough to build muscle. In reality, you also want to implement the right resistance, sets, and reps.
How many squats you should do can vary for different training goals
That being said, to grow your quadriceps you would preferably do something like 3 to 6 sets of 6 to 10 squats with resistance where you can barely complete these numbers.
This will likely mean doing squats with a weighted vest, a barbell, or even a heavy backpack.
On the flip side, there are also people who would be able to see decent results from something more straightforward like doing 100 squats a day.
2. Squats can help you lose weight
Similar to basically any form of exercise, squats are good for weight loss in the sense that they help with this. However, squats can actually be relatively good for this purpose if you dig deeper.
At first, how many calories squats burn may give you the impression that this exercise is not suited for weight loss workouts.
That being said, if you do them with weights and in a way where you focus on building leg muscle mass, they become a lot better.
This is because muscle mass helps you burn more calories throughout your other workouts and the rest of your day.
Keep in mind that even if squats can be helpful for losing weight, you likely need to pay attention to other details like your nutrition too to achieve your goals.
3. Squats can improve your mood
One of the benefits of squats that people don’t expect is that they can actually improve your mood in different ways.
Secondly, squats can also indirectly improve your mood.
By improving your health in all of the other ways in this article, you will likely reduce to what extent negative situations happen.
4. Can train different muscle fiber types
This next benefit of squats is not as unique to this exercise alone but it is worth mentioning.
The muscles in your body can be made up of different ratios of muscle fiber types (4). These have their specific benefits.
For example, there are type 1, slow-twitch muscle fibers which tend to be more helpful for efforts of longer durations.
Next, there are type 2, fast-twitch muscle fibers which are useful for generating a lot of power in a short amount of time.
Squats are good in the sense that you can focus on the type 1 muscle fibers with the bodyweight version.
On the other hand, you can also add weights to the exercise to focus more on the type 2 muscle fibers.
5. Squats can improve your mobility
If your knee health allows it, squats tend to be an exercise where you go through a large range of motion. Even if you don’t go “ass to the grass”.
You can describe mobility as the range of motion certain body parts can comfortably go through.
By safely pushing your body in this area in body parts like your hips, knees, and ankles with squats, you can improve your mobility.
In turn, this tends to reduce your risk of injuries since your body is already used to getting in these farthest positions.
6. Squats can improve athletic performance
Running fast is a mix of your cardiovascular health providing the substances needed to function to your muscles.
Improving how much force your muscles can generate in certain time frames with squats can lead to faster running.
Since many sports involve at least some type of running, you can say that squats will often be able to offer benefits in terms of athletic performance that are hard to get from just doing the sport itself more.
7. Squats can improve your bone density
Many people are not aware of it but your bones are not just pieces of static metal in your body. They are living tissues that can adapt themselves to the pressure you put on them.
Even if you are not worried about breaking your bones right now, this could be worth paying attention to.
Generally, the older you get, the harder it becomes to improve bone density. By focusing on this right now, you could avoid something like a broken hip in the future.
8. Time-efficient workout
Many people have the misbelief that you have to spend half your week in the gym to get in shape. Luckily, you can see great results with workouts that are relatively short too.
More specifically, a few sets of squats with a minute or two of rest in between each set really does not take that much time.
Additionally, even just one squat workout per week would already be a great start. Many lifters even consider squatting 3 times a week to be often.
9. Squats can help increase your vertical jump
Being able to jump high vertically is mainly the result of being able to generate a lot of power with your muscles. More specifically, your quadriceps (front thigh muscles).
In turn, you can increase your vertical jump by implementing a good squat routine that focuses on this fitness component.
It is worth mentioning that implementing some more explosive squat alternatives like broad jumps every once in a while can be helpful for improving muscle power.
At the same time, building some muscle mass can still often help a lot for this purpose too.
Do squats make your butt bigger?
If you have weak glutes, weighted squats could make your butt just a bit bigger. That being said, squats are generally more of a quadricep (front thigh) exercise.