7 Benefits of Doing Squats and Variations to Try
The squat is a fundamental movement pattern that requires a lot of joint and muscle integration. Babies squat. We bend over in favor of unlearning this.
Squats require a lot of muscles in your upper and lower body to work together.
Many of the muscles help power you through daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, bending, or carrying heavy loads. They help you do athletic activities.
Adding squats to your workouts can help you increase your exercise performance, decrease your risk of injury, and keep you moving more easily throughout the day. There are many other benefits.
You can try for added benefits by doing squats and variations, and you can get rewards from doing them.
If there’s one exercise that has the ability to challenge most of the muscles in your body, it’s the squat.
The obvious muscles targeted are in the lower body, but you also need to use several muscles above your waist in order to do this compound exercise correctly.
The lower muscles are targeted in a squat.
- gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius (buttocks)
- quadriceps (front of the thigh)
- hamstrings (back of the thigh)
- adductor (groin)
- 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.
If you do a back squat or overhead squat, you will also work the muscles in your shoulders, arms, chest, and back.
Known as a bodyweight squat or an air squat, the most basic type of squat uses just your body weight for resistance. Variations of the squat can include weights, like barbells or dumbbells, resistance bands, or yoga balls.
It is a good idea to work with a trainer to improve your squat form. The pressure in the squat should be placed evenly through your feet. This is called a tripod.
Imagine a triangle on the sole of your foot, with pressure placed equally in three areas: on the front of the foot, behind the big toe, and on the heels.
To do a basic squat.
- Start with feet that are slightly wider than hip- width.
- Keeping your chest up and out and the pressure even in your feet, engage your abdominals and shift your weight back into your heels as you push your hips back.
- Lower yourself into a squat until either your heels lift off the floor or your torso begins to flex forward. Your form should tell you your depth.
- Keep your chest out and core tight as you push through your heels to stand up. At the top, squeeze your glutes.
- 10–15 reps. Work up to 3 sets.
The squat benefits are lengthy, but here are seven key benefits of doing squats.
1. Strengthens your core
Strong core muscles can make everyday movements easier. A strong core can help you with balance, ease pain in your low back, and make it easier to maintain good posture.
The researchers recommended targeting the core muscles with back squats to reduce the risk of injury and boost athletic performance.
2. Reduces the risk of injury
You can execute full-body movements with correct form, balance, mobility, and posture if you strengthen the muscles in your lower body.
Plus, incorporating squats in your overall workout routine also helps strengthen your tendons, ligaments, and bones, which, according to the American Council on Exercise, may help reduce your risk of injury.
3. Crushes calories
Aerobic exercises such as running or cycling are often compared to calorie burning. The squat can crush some serious calories.
For example, according to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person can burn approximately 223 calories doing 30-minutes of vigorous strength or weight training exercises, like squats.
4. Strengthens the muscles of your lower body
Your lower body has a lot of powerful muscles.
From getting out of bed, to sitting down in a chair, your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, Hip flexors., and calves are responsible for almost every move you make.
Strength training exercises like squats can help strengthen the muscles in your lower body. You can move more comfortably, with less pain, and do things like exercise more easily if your muscles are in good condition.
5. Boosts athletic ability and strength
Adding jump squats to your workout may help you improve your athletic performance by developing strength and speed.
The researchers concluded that jump squat training can improve several different athletic performances at the same time.
6. Variety helps with motivation
Once you master the basic squat, there are many different types of squat variations you can try. Changing up your squats can help keep the exercise interesting, while also activating different muscle groups.
Squats can be done with your body weight. They can be done with weights, resistance bands, or yoga balls.
7. Can be done anywhere
“You don’t need equipment to do squats. You just need enough room to lower your hips into a sitting position.”
If you have time, you can still benefit from doing 50 squats a day, even if you have to work. 25 is added to the afternoon as you get stronger.
“Changing up the basic squat allows you to target different muscles. It helps with motivation because you don’t get bored performing the same move repeatedly.”
Before you start squatting variations, make sure you have mastered the basic squat movement. These exercises require more strength, flexibility, and core activation.
The back squat takes the traditional squat motion and adds resistance to the shoulders with a barbell. It’s often considered the “gold standard” when it comes to
The back squat focuses on the hips and glutes.
- A barbell is set in a squat rack.
- You should move underneath the bar so it rests behind your neck. The bar is being gripped with your hands.
- Step back a little with your feet a little wider than shoulder width apart to clear the rack.
- Lower your hips into a squat.
- Pause briefly, then press through your feet and push your hips back up to the starting position.
You can use a dumbbell or medicine ball for an overhead squat.
This variation is good for your lower back. It works the muscles in your arms and shoulders.
Pay attention to your form because your range of motion will be different with this squat.
- Stand tall with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
- The medicine ball is above your head.
- If you are standing, bend your knees and push your hips back as you would for a squat. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, stop.
- Pause in your squat position.
- Push through your heels to get back to the starting position.
With jump squats, you don’t need any equipment. This is a plyometric move, which means it’s a powerful aerobic exercise that requires you to exert your muscles to their maximum potential in a short period of time.
The jump squat increases your heart rate and targets your muscles.
If you want to try this move, you need healthy knees, hips, and ankles.
- Stand up straight with your feet slightly wider than your shoulder.
- Squat until your thighs are higher than your knees.
- Lift your feet off the ground.
- Land with knees bent and squat down.
There are some precautions to take when doing squats, and they should be kept in mind.
- Only lower yourself as far as you can comfortably go. When you begin to feel discomfort in your hips or knees, stop and use that as your endpoint.
- Make sure you have a solid base. Most squat exercises require you to start with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Using a narrower stance allows you to target the outer thigh muscles, but it also decreases the stability of your base and puts extra pressure on your knees.
- Keep your eyes forward. While it may seem natural to look down when performing a squat, you’ll want to keep your gaze straight ahead. To help with this, pick a spot in front of you to focus on. This may help you keep your neck in a neutral position.
- Keep your posture upright. Avoid rounding your shoulders or back. Focus on keeping your spine straight and in a neutral position, with your head neutral, not looking up or down.
- Only lift what you can handle. Avoid going heavy with weight if your form can’t handle it. You will benefit more from the squat if you execute it with proper form than you will if you lift too much weight. Also, lifting too much weight can strain your lower back, hips, and knees, which can lead to injuries.
- Activate your core. Keep your core muscles activated throughout the entire movement. Think of these muscles as your internal weight belt that holds everything in its place.
Squats are a great way to develop strength and power.
This functional exercise helps prevent injuries, strengthens your core, and improves your balance and posture.
Changing out the traditional squat with different variations will keep you motivated. You will be challenged with each new move, and this will keep your workouts interesting.
If you have a health condition or an injury, you should talk to your doctor or a certified personal trainer before adding squats to your fitness routine.