If you’re looking for a good all round exercise that incorporates a number of muscle groups, can strip fat, build muscle and also provide a cardiovascular workout, the squat may just be the exercise for you! It’s varied, you can tailor the difficulty of your squats dependent on your own ability, and most importantly, it’s a big compound movement and therefore great for overall fitness. Rather than just being a pure muscle builder, the squat is often overlooked for the other benefits it can provide such as enhancing your metabolism and giving your heart and lungs a fantastic workout, so let’s run down a few great things about the squat exercise! Here are the 4 benefits of squats:
1)It’s a great muscle builder
This is the most obvious of the benefits of the squats, but it really is a great muscle builder. Being a compound movement, the squat utilises a number of muscle groups including the glutes, hamstrings, back, and core and therefore gives you size – fast. For those just starting out on a workout routine, simple body weight squats may be enough to get your legs burning and your heart pumping, but for the more advanced gym-goer, dumbbells are available, as well as Olympic barbells for those who really want to lift big! The squat caters for all regardless of ability or fitness level and can be a fantastic base to work from if you are looking to design a workout program for overall strength and fitness.
Ever tried doing repeated squats for 2 minutes? It’s hard work and so squats can be fantastic for a cardiovascular workout! The second squats benefit is that you can use body weight squats to build up fitness or purchase some squat stands, both of these will improve muscular endurance and cardiovascular capability. The cardiovascular benefit of squats are often overlooked in favor of the muscular benefits but as the squat is such as big movement requiring multiple muscle groups; it can be fantastic way to increase cardiovascular endurance and overall health and fitness. Build up your squats steadily, try doing as many as you can in 30 seconds, then up it to 1 minute, then try and beat that record or amount of time to get the heart pumping as well as the muscles building.
3)They can be done by anyone
We’ve touched on this previously but the squat really can be done by anyone regardless of fitness level. For those just starting out, or taking it easy due to injury, simple body weight squats can provide a more than adequate workout that can burn fat and build lean muscle. For those slightly fitter, why not add some dumbbells and for those really looking to strip fat and put on size, time to get out the Olympic barbell and really get heavy! The squat can be fantastic as a form of cardio, as a muscle builder and also for those getting back into sports or exercise after an injury due to the large range of motion used to perform it. The bending and straightening of the knees increases joint function, and the nature of the squat employs the core which, when built up over time can protect the body from injury through stabilization.
4)A little low on money?
Squats can be a very lost cost way of exercising. Just like press-ups or sit ups, the squat in its most basic form requires no equipment, just engage your core, bend your knees to a 90 degree angle and stand back up. Could that be simpler? Could that be cheaper? For those looking to exercise on a budget but still get results, the squat is definitely an exercise that should be top of their priority list.
These were the top 4 benefits of squats. We love the squat. It’s simple, effective and works a number of different muscle groups. As with everything though, the squat is only as effective as you make it. Do your research in terms of form to prevent injury, and don’t go for repping too much with too high a weight if you’re just starting out. Build it up slowly and listen to your body! Combine this with a balanced and healthy diet, perhaps with some combined supplements such as creatine to help aid recovery and build lean muscle and you’re on to a winner in terms of reaching your fitness goals! Good luck!
Luke Cafferty is a fitness junkie, personal trainer and blogger. He’s passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a strong and well rounded physique, while inspiring you to do the same.