Squats are considered a lower-body compound exercise, which means they target multiple muscle groups, requiring that the muscles work together to complete the movement. Not only do squats challenge your legs, but they also engage your core, back, shoulders, and even your calves. In this blog post, we will discuss the benefits of performing squats every day and what happens to your body when you do.
Build the Muscles of Your Lower Body
When you perform squats with proper form and take the movement through a full range of motion, you will see improvements in muscular strength and endurance in all the targeted muscle groups over time. The muscles targeted in your squats include your gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius, quadriceps, hamstrings, adductors, hip flexors, and calves. Additionally, if you switch things up and perform variations like back squats or overhead squats, you will also work the muscles in your shoulders, arms, chest, and back.
Exercising is a great way to boost your metabolism, and squats are no exception. The larger the muscle groups you use, the more calories you will burn during a workout. Squats target big muscle groups like the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, which will rev up your metabolism. As you build more muscle, you will feel stronger and be able to lift heavier weights or hike longer distances, which will lead to an increase in calories burned. Building more muscle mass as a whole will boost your metabolism around the clock.
Even though squats primarily target the legs, the exercise requires a fair amount of core stabilization and engagement, which will help strengthen the muscles of your abdomen and low back. However, squats should not completely replace your core workouts. The core is made up of several different muscle groups, including the ab muscles, like the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, as well as the erector spinae, which works to stabilize and extend your spine. Squats appear to be better at developing erector spine strength than a plank exercise, but the plank proves to be better at developing the rectus abdominals, the six-pack muscles.
Improved Athletic Performance
Doing squats daily may improve your athletic performance, particularly the power to move faster and more explosively thanks to the new muscle you have developed in your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. However, if your goal is to improve specific skills like golf or softball, squats may not help you much with those.
Squatting in general is good for developing core strength, particularly through your spinal erectors, which help with spine extension. With time, this alone may help posture become better. Certain squat variations, particularly those that require a more upright positioning of the torso, like overhead squats or front squats, can also help strengthen the shoulders and upper back, further improving posture. The overhead squat, in which you hold a weight with both hands directly over your head, is particularly good for strengthening the shoulders, arms, and upper back, in addition to the legs and lower back. To avoid poor technique or injury, it's crucial to pay attention to your form when performing overhead squats. The actions of retracting your shoulders and lifting your chest are great ways to counteract the common culprits of poor posture, forward rounded shoulders, and chest.
In conclusion, squats are the ultimate full-body exercise, offering a wide range of physical and mental benefits. Whether you are looking to build strength, improve flexibility, or simply get in better shape, incorporating squats into your workout routine is a great way to achieve your fitness goals. So, next time you hit the gym, be sure to add squats to your workout routine and experience the many benefits of this powerful and effective exercise!