Squats are strength training exercises that focuses on your lower body muscles. The primary muscles involved in this exercise are your quadriceps and glutes. Training these muscles is important as they are used in doing daily activities like walking, bending, weight lifting, climbing stairs etc. In addition to lower body muscles, this exercise also targets your core and lower back muscles. If you do athletic activities then training your lower body muscles is must as your performance depends upon it.
Squats requires no equipment as no external weights are required. This makes this exercise safer and convenient for beginners. Adding squats to your workout plan will build strength in your body for lifting heavy weights, burn large number of calories and lower the risk of back injuries. These are just few of the benefits that this exercise offers to you. Lets explore all of the benefits in depth.
Benefits Of Squats:
1. It Improves Posture And Reduces Risk Of Injuries
Doing squats also trains your lower back muscles. Strengthening your lower back improves your form, balance, and mobility in full-body movements. Having a strong lower back keeps your spine straight which improves your posture. According to American Council On Exercise, adding squats to your workout helps in building strength in your bones and ligaments which can reduce the risk of injuries.
2. It Requires No Equipment
Squats are easily performed anywhere as no equipment is required. This means that you can perform this exercise anywhere like your home or a nearby park. All you need is enough space to lower your body into a sitting position. If you cannot do 30 squats in one go then you can divide this exercise into multiple sets and perform it in different hours. Like 10 squats in the morning, 10 in the afternoon, and 10 in the evening. This way you’ll build strength in your muscles and prepare them for higher repetitions.
3. It Primarily Targets Your Lower Body Muscles
Your lower body involve some of the largest and most powerful muscles. Dynamic strength training exercises like squats helps in developing a strong muscle foundation for your lower body muscles. Doing squats regularly improves your muscle definition and balance. Developing strength in your lower body muscles helps in doing activities like walking, cycling and bending more easily.
4. It Strengthens Your Core Muscles
Core strength is must for doing daily movements like walking, turning, bending and standing comfortably. Building a strong core is important for stablizing your body and keeping it from losing balance. Studies have shown that squats activates your abs better than other leg exercises. Targeting your core muscles using squats will reduce the risk of injuries and develop athletic performance.
5. It Burns Large Number Of Calories
Cardio exercises like running and jogging are famous for burning calories. But doing high-intensity compound exercises like squats can burn more calories than many cardio exercises. Training multiple muscle groups boost your metabolism and can burn some serious calories. This study applies to squats as it targets some of the biggest and strongest muscles in your body.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight and chest up. Engage your abdominal muscles.
2. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the ground. While lowering your body, bend your hips more than your knees. Don’t bend your knees further than your toes. Breathe in while going down.
3. When you reach the bottom, hold the position. Raise your body back to the start by pushing in through your feet. Keep your feet flat on the ground throughout the exercise. Breathe out while lifting your body back to the starting position. This is one repetition of the squats
4. If you’re a beginner, perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions of this exercise. If you’ve moderate experience with this exercise then you can perform 3-4 sets of more than 20 repetitions.
1. Your arm position plays a vital role in improving your balance. While doing squats, always stretch your arms in front of your body. This helps in keeping your body stable throughout the movement. Remember to bend your hips back than your knees forward.
2. The length between your feet emphasis on different leg muscles. Placing your feet narrower to each other will target your outer thigh muscles. The narrow placement of your feet can be difficult for beginners as a lot of balance is required. For beginners, wider placement of your feet is more convenient as it requires less balance and targets your inner thigh muscles. These wide feet squats are known as sumo squats.
3. Do squats regularly to get comfortable with the exercise and build your strength. After gaining some experience with the standard exercise, you can try other advanced variations like barbell squats, overhead squats, and pistol squats. You can do advanced variations to maximize your explosive strength in your lower body muscles.
Variations Of Squats:
Weight Training Variations
Additional equipment like a barbell, kettlebell, and dumbbells to the squat exercise. These variations challenge you with more resistance in your lower body muscles.
1. Dumbbell Squats
The dumbbell squat is a foundational exercise for athletes as it specifically targets your quads and glutes. For beginners, This exercise is easy to balance than traditional squats as you’re holding equal weights in both hands. Dumbbell squats reduce the stress in your lower back and shift it to your lower body muscles.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width. Keep your back straight with a slight bend in your knees. Keep the dumbbells at your sides.
2. Engage your core and look in front. Lower your body by sinking your hips in the backward direction. Keep your knees behind your toes. Lower into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Breathe in as you lower your body.
3. Hold the position and then dive up your hips to raise your body back to the start. Breathe out as you raise your body. Try to keep the dumbbells stable throughout the movement. This is one repetition of the dumbbell squat exercise.
4. If you’re a beginner try to perform 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions. If you’ve performed this exercise before then you can try doing 3-4 sets of 15-20 repetitions. Keep doing this exercise regularly to strengthen your muscles and hit further repetitions.
2. Barbell Squats
The barbell squat is an advanced variation of the standard squat exercise that is performed by lifting a barbell along your body to target upper body muscles along with your lower body muscles. Adding a barbell to the basic bodyweight squat is a great progression for boosting your strength and challenging your body. It’s best to perform this exercise in a rack or cage to ensure your safety while loading weights into the barbell. One amazing advantage of using rack is that if you fail to perform a repetition then you can easily fail out. This helps in boosting your confidence and reducing the risk of injuries.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Start this exercise by safely loading the barbell with weights according to your strength. Now, stand beneath the racked barbell and hold the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart.
2. Keep your toes slightly out with your core tight and chest up. Perform a basic squat by bending your hips back and knees out. Balance the barbell on your traps.
3. Hold the position when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Now, lift your body back to the start by pushing in through your feet. This is one repetition of the barbell squat exercise.
4. If you’re a beginner try to do 3 sets of 7-10 repetitions. If you’re unable to complete the set fail out when needed. Try to challenge your strength by doing 3-4 sets of more than 20 repetitions.
3. Goblet Squats
The goblet squat is a weight training exercise that targets your full body muscles particularly your legs and core. This move is a great progression for beginners as it improves your cardiovascular fitness by adding resistance and simultaneously perfecting your form. The biggest benefit of this exercise over other variations is that it is designed to provide you with a full range of motion while preventing beginner-level mistakes like leaning forward or bending your knees further than your toes.
Step By Step Instructions
1. Stand with your feet wider than your hip width. Move your toes slightly out. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in your hands. Keep your back straight and look in front.
2. Engage your core and press your hips back to perform a squat. Breathe in as you lower your body. Keep the kettlebell close to your body throughout the movement.
3. Hold the position when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Now push in through your heels to raise your body back to the starting position. Breathe out as you lift your body. This is one repetition of the goblet squats.
4. Try doing 3 sets of 10-12 repetitions if you’re a beginner. Keep increasing the repetitions as you build your strength.