If push ups are the go-to exercise for upper body strength, then squats are the lower body counterpart.
Squats are a great way to tone and strengthen a variety of different muscles in your legs and butt.
So what exactly is a squat? If you’ve ever sat down in a chair, then you’ve essentially already completed the basic movement.
A squat is an exercise in which you bend your knees to lower your hips from a standing position. It looks almost like you’re going to sit in a chair.
The trick is, however, that you don’t actually sit down. You simply hover your body and use your lower body strength to bring yourself back up to a standing position.
There are many ways to do squats, and even more benefits. Keep reading to check out the top 10 reasons why you should be doing squats.
10 Benefits Of Doing Squats
1. Help Make Your Rear End Look Better
Squats have gained a reputation as a “booty-building” exercise, and for good reason. Squats use your butt muscles (known as your glutes) to help propel your body up to a standing position.
While results will be different for each person, squats have been shown to build and tone your glutes.
If you are carrying a little extra weight, that means your butt will look firmer and more shapely. If you have very little body fat, then squats can help increase the size of your butt.
2. Tone Your Legs
In addition to making your butt look better, they also work to help tone your leg muscles. In addition to your glutes, squats also use the front and back parts of your upper leg (your quads and hamstrings).
More toned leg muscles can mean slimmer legs or more defined leg muscles, depending on your unique body composition.
3. Make You More Stable/Reduce Injury
When your legs are stronger, they provide a more stable base for all the rest of your exercises. Having stability while exercising is an important way to reduce injury and ensure proper form.
A traditional squat is done while standing with weight evenly distributed between both legs, but there’s also a version called a “pistol squat” that involves squatting while standing on only one leg.
This is an advanced move, but it helps improve your stability even more.
4. Increase Blood Flow
Working your lower body muscles encourages blood flow to that part of your body. When your heart pumps blood to the legs, it increases circulation throughout your entire body.
When you squat slower with heavy weights, you build muscle and help relieve some of the pressure on the walls of your arteries. This allows blood to flow freely.
Additionally, if you squat faster with lighter weights, you can make it into a cardio exercise that gets your heart pumping faster.
5. Strengthen Your Joints
Strengthening your muscles also means strengthening the joints around them. When you work your thigh muscles, it helps stabilize your knees and hips, too.
One thing to note is that squats only help your joints if you are doing them correctly.
It’s important to make sure your knees don’t go too far past your feet and your weight is focused on the heels and balls of your feet.
6. Help Jump Higher
With a stronger base, you can gain more power and momentum in your jumps. Squatting also mimics the proper form for jumping.
When you squat down to prepare for a jump, you build the momentum needed to propel your body off the ground. Stronger leg muscles also let you push off the ground harder, thus allowing you to jump higher.
7. Make You faster
As you build up muscle in your legs, that can help propel you forward when you run. Similar to jumping, stronger muscles allow you to put more pressure on the ground.
When you put more pressure on the ground, you run faster. The higher force exerted towards the ground helps you have more power as you’re running.
8. Make Everyday Tasks Easier
Every time you bend over or walk up stairs, you’re using some of the same muscles that are activated during a squat.
If you’ve ever done a hard workout and tried to walk up stairs afterward, then you definitely understand.
By building up these muscles through exercise, you’ll notice a difference as you go through some of your typical, everyday movements.
9. Tone Your Core
So far, we’ve only really talked about what squats can do for your legs and butt. But squatting correctly is really a full-body exercise.
As you rise up from the squatting position, your core is vital to help bring you back to a standing position.
If you place a hand on your stomach while completing a proper squat, you should feel your ab muscles tighten.
10. Help Your Posture
A toned core is good for more than just nice-looking beach pictures. It also helps stabilize your spine so you can sit and stand up straight.
Squats work your abs in the front, as well as the muscles in your back. The combination of these muscles is what helps you keep your body in an upright position.
With so many different benefits of squatting, it’s definitely an exercise you should add to your regular workout routine.
If we haven’t convinced you already, here’s one more reason to squat: it’s easy. Squatting doesn’t require any equipment. You can do it in your home, outside, in a gym, or pretty much anywhere you’d like.
Once you get the basic form down, you can start adding weight and making the move more advanced.
There are also tons of different variations you can try to isolate different muscle groups. Whether you’re pistol squatting, sumo squatting, or pulse squatting, you’re using the movement in a slightly different way to produce different results.
So if you’re looking to whip your lower body into shape, definitely start squatting. It’s a simple, versatile way to tone multiple different parts of your body at once.
For more information on squatting and for tips on how to squat you can check out tips on how to squat.