The squat is a very important exercise that anybody can perform. Why? The squat is not just any random exercise; it’s a way of life. The lessons of life to be learnt from doing the squat are numerous. When you squat under the pressure of the heavy weights, you endanger yourself as you go low, but you fight your way back as you push and stand back up. This sort of routine goes beyond the physical; it’s psychological, it’s therapeutic.
Perhaps, you are an amateur looking to register in a gym and are looking for the benefits of squatting, or you could be a veteran looking to understand the advantages of doing the squat so as to teach it on Youtube or Instagram, this article is for you.
Since squatting is one of the most important compound exercises that targets almost all the muscles in your body, there are always new variations, and technological improvements to measure rep goals and training percentages. Apps like squat calculators and Smolov can help you achieve this.
So, let’s take a look at the many benefits—16 of them outlined here— of the demanding exercise: the squat.
Incorporating squats in your routine helps build your gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle in the human body. This muscle is also responsible for generating power to do menial activities. Other muscles such as the gluteus medius, and minimus are also targeted and strengthened during squat exercises. Plus, as a woman, strengthening the gluteus maximus helps build the muscles in your butt region, making it look firm and more attractive.
Improves Quad Strength
Four major muscles make up the human quads: the Vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis, the vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris. The function of these muscles is to help in supporting the extension of the leg, in protecting the knee, and in preventing instability. The quads are also the muscles responsible for speed development. Performing squat exercises will help build and strengthen these muscles.
You know those ugly moments when a football player would go on a lengthy break due to an injury incurred from excessive twisting or strain of the legs? The muscle mostly affected is called the hamstring. The muscles that make up the hamstrings are the: semitendimosus, the semimembranosus, and the bicep femoris. The function of the hamstrings is to help in flexion, in bending and straightening of the legs and in acting as breaks when we run or walk. The hamstrings are also responsible for our sprinting abilities.
Increased Calf Size and Strength
The calves are the muscles present on our lower legs. They comprise of the gastrocnemius and the soleus. The function of these muscles is to help us in moving faster, improving our ankle stability, and it supporting us when we carry out extreme movements that strain our legs.
Our ability to jump is greatly improved by doing squats. How? By strengthening all the muscles in the back region and downwards, we are invariably building the capacity of these muscles which help in unleashing more power required for a higher jump. The results of a study published in 2012, showed a significant improvement in the vertical jump of 59 participants after they followed a ten-week program where they executed different variations of the squat exercise.
Enhances Core Strength
One of the reasons squat exercises are so good and helpful, is the fact that they work the core of the human body, which comprises the lower back, mid back, obliques, and mostly the abs. The core of the body is greatly affected during a squat routine as the body tries hard to maintain stability and prevent one from falling over.
Okay, I should have you know, that one of the perks of following a squat routine religiously, is the confidence that comes from having a great body. You know that moment when you are always looking for an excuse to take off your shirt as a guy, or to wear tight-fitting legs or pants as a lady. And then again, increasing your squat strength gives you that feel of progress and expertise, as you develop more fulfilment in seeing your physical capacity increase.
Improved Strength of Character
The strength of character developed as a result of squatting under heavy weights is one of the psychological benefits of the squat exercise. It takes great discipline to try the squat and even greater discipline to stick to the routine. The mental and physical exertion required for squat exercises reflects in real life and helps build determination and grit.
Enhance Power Production
Power is necessary to carry out daily activities, and more. Tasking activities such as running, jumping, and weightlifting requires power from the muscles. And, as you quite know, the power gotten from the muscles is enhanced by the strengthening of these very muscles, which is ultimately one of the benefits of doing the squat.
Increased and Improved Mobility
The body’s mobility is greatly improved when squats are performed. When squats are executed with proper form, our ability to move in multiple positions is becomes more efficient. The resistance against the weights help to stretch the body and thereby increases the body’s range of motion.
Accelerate Fat Burn
During exercise, we burn a lot of calories which helps to reduce fat in the body. Since the squat is one important routine that involves a lot of muscles in the body and also requires a lot of energy to execute, more calories are burnt during, and after workout, which helps to keep the muscles in tip-top shape. The energy expenditure required to perform the squat is the major reason why it is loved by all gym enthusiasts. It gives the opportunity of targeting multiple muscles in the body, thereby, maximizing workout output and efficiency from just a single exercise.
Injuries sustained, perhaps during sporting activities, can mostly be corrected by doing squats. Certain imbalances and weakness can be corrected when the squat is done in the proper form. In fact, while performing the squat, a trained physiotherapist can identify certain weaknesses in some muscles. Injuries like weak hamstring or hip instability have been known to be corrected using the squat. However, it is imperative that every injury be reported to a doctor before corrections through exercise are sought.
When our joints are exercised and strengthened constantly, they function at their best. Squatting regularly helps build the muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons around the joints, enhancing the overall strength of the joints, which prevents injuries. When joints are exercised properly over a long period of time, they help prevent diseases that occur as a result of weak joints, such as arthritis. For joint strength to be improved significantly, you must ensure that you are squatting in the correct form.
Enhance Sprint Speed
Power production goes pari passu with sprint speed. The power generated from exercising the legs and the hamstrings help the legs have a stronger contact with the ground during sprints, which helps the body propel forward much faster.
Increase Hormone Production
Hormones like testosterone have been proven to be released during workout routines such as the squat. This is as a result of the highly demanding movement that put the muscles under a lot strain, enhancing the release of more growth and testosterone hormones.
Support Healthy Posture
As a result of improved body strength and lower extremities due to squatting, the body posture is invariably bettered. The anterior (front) and posterior (back) muscles are part of the muscles targeted during the squat routine, which causes a balance in the core of the body and dramatically improves body posture. Squats, when performed with proper form, help build the strength of the torso and preclude internal rotation of the shoulders. Stretching and mobilizing, not only squats, are also very good exercises that have been proven to improve body posture.
Naturally, there are a host of other benefits to squats and in fact any type of exercise but this article will have taken you through the most notable benefits. Keeping fit and exercising is a way of life and we should all aim to be the best versions of ourselves. With practice comes perfection and nothing good comes easy. Hang in there and you shall reap all the benefits.