12 Benefits of Squatting

12 Benefits of Squatting

If, after this article, you still want to avoid getting in the rack and under the bar I consider you a lost cause. Enjoy!

These are 12 key points that should make any non believer that the squat is the best exercise that you can do in the gym. Please have a read throught and let me know your favorite or any that I have missed...

1.    Increased Hormone Release – The Squat engages nearly every muscle in the body so it will activate the most hormone production of any exercise. Your testosterone and growth hormone levels will increase, speeding up your metabolism, burning more calories and creating more muscle mass. All in all just reading this 1st point should be enough to prove my point, but read on if you must...

2.    Enhanced Core Strength – While performing a squat your core will be engaged and under tension the entire time. Your abdominals are performing an isometric hold to stabilize your entire body and prevent you from collapsing! Many people don’t think of engaging their abs while performing a squat, but they are a very important aspect of this lift and most other free-range exercises.

3.    Improved Flexibility – While you are squatting you are stretching all the muscle fibers in your legs. Performing the eccentric motion (negative or downward motion) you are stretching and tearing your glutes, hamstrings, quads & hip flexors. Squatting past parallel is one of the most efficient stretches you can do.

4.    Reduced Chance of Injury – Building muscles, improving core strength and becoming more flexible are all great ways to reduce your risk of injury. As you have read in the previous three points, the squat helps with all. Also bracing under loads is one of the best things to strengthen your lower back. Done correctly the squat will also strengthen your lower back and reduce stiffness & soreness caused from too much sitting at your desk.

5.    Improved Workout Efficiency – Why would you go into a gym and perform: leg curls, leg extensions, calf raises, good mornings, Romanian dead lifts, hip add/abduction, leg add/abduction & glute bridges when you can get the benefits of all of these from squatting? Making your workouts more efficient is very important! Don’t waste your time in the gym - Get in, LIFT, and get out! 45-60min is all you need!

6.    Develop Real World Strength – When is the last time you had to bench press something in the real world? So unless you’re an offensive linemen or a professional arm wrestler, LEG DAY should be the 1st day of your training split. How many times a day do you have to squat down or stand up to get something? A LOT!!! Squats are the most functional exercise you can do and will carry over many benefits into the every day life.

7.    Sprint Faster – Studies show that performing explosive weighted squats twice a week will improve your 100m sprints by 8%. Activating your fast twitch muscle fibers can only mean one thing. SPEED!

8.    Increased Vertical Jump – The main jumping muscles are your hamstrings, calves and the arches on the bottom of your feet. The squat targets all of these! For faster results, add calf raises to the finish of your reps or progress to weighted squat jumps.

9.    Improves Mobility & Balance – Mobility of the hips is the most common concern for my clients as a personal trainer. Getting people to where they can squat comfortably below paralel can sometimes be a tough task. ( a topic for another blog) But once you are there the best way to keep your mobility is to squat to full depth all of the time. Balance & Stability come from driving your feet through the ground in synchronization to balance the weight up top and lift your body up together as one unit. A heavy squat will force your body to recruit many little stabilizer muscles that will also improve overall balance.

10.  Tone the Posterior Legs – Everyone wants a sexy butt! Many people think running is the answer but that usually causes more muscle loss. Who wants a flat bottom?! If that’s what you want, then go ahead, hop on a treadmill and run for an hour. If you would like a nice toned round butt then I will see you in the squat rack! Lots of people ask me “How do I get rid of the cellulite on the back of my legs?” You stretch and tear the muscles in the problem area stimulating them to break down the fat. Then you must fill the area with muscle so the fat has no where to come back to. So what exercise has the greatest hormone release again?!

11.   Cardiovascular Benefits – So you can go for a run or you can get under the bar and give me 5 sets of 20 reps. I already know which one burns more calories, but I will leave it up to you to decide which one works better… Remember that meabolic conditioning workouts that utalize big muscle groups and stimulate high heart rate will continue to burn calories for the next 4-6 hrs. Where as when you get off the treadmill your calorie burn is over.

12.   Functionality - You use your legs and feet everyday. I know you think your biceps look appealing, but strengthening your legs is much more practical! Besides you don't want to be the guy at the gym with a big upper body and little chicken legs. Nobody whants to be a part of that meme.

So I hope I have given you enough hard evidence to not skip your next chance to squat...

Don't be afraid of squatting to full depth or a lot of weight. Both are very good for you. Please share this with somebody who skips the squat bar. Maybe they will rethink their decision next time?

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From a captain and leader on and off the field Mitchell was an every sport star growing up! Now a retired CFL, CIS, MFL & Team Canada Football wide receiver & punt returner with a BSc in Kinesiology, Mitchell brings knowledge from trainers and coaches from across the country. He has been in the fitness industry for over 15 years and is certified throught CanFit PRO as a specialized personal trainer, Crossfit Level 1, Precision Nutrition, TRX Coach, Olympic Lifting, Pregnancy & Postpartum Recovery & Life Coaching.

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