5 Reasons To Squat Regularly

Squats are a popular workout exercise. They demand a lot from our lower bodies and make us feel incredible once we've finished them! The following blog outlines five reasons you should be doing them regularly. Ready to learn what they are? Let's go!

Why you should squat more

Walk into any gym any time and you're bound to see someone doing squats. 

But for newbies or those without the confidence, it's very difficult to walk up to the rack and start squatting with perfect form.

So whether this involves getting a personal trainer, or learning via how-to videos online, we're encouraging you via this blog to take the plunge and start squatting.

You can even try them at home first, perfect your form, then storm into the gym and show off your impeccable squatting form. 

In the fitness world, the harder the exercise, generally the better it is for you. And those of you who squat regularly know how much squats take it out of you!

And for good reason ..

Reason 1: They're Great For Growing Your Quads

Most people opt for squats on leg day because they work the quads very well.

Firstly, let's take a closer look at our quads:
Quads

 

The quads get their name because there are four (hence the word "quad") muscles within them.

And doing squats will work all of these muscles except your rectus femoris. Three out of four is pretty good going!

So for a solid looking pair of quads, make sure squats are part of your leg workout routine.

 

Reason 2: You'll Be Able To Jump Higher

 

Squat jump
A very recent study found that in comparison to leg extensions, squats allowed the subjects to jump much higher. 

This is because squats are working so much more of our lower bodies that our ability to produce force is therefore greater.

If you're playing sports like AFL or basketball that require jumping, make sure squats are finding a way into your gym routine!

Reason 3: They Might Help Prevent Injuries

 

No one likes time out of the gym. It can cause us to lose our confidence and wreak havoc on our mental health.

Many injuries occur due to imbalances and weaknesses, and squats bolster our knee and hip stability. 

This can assist and prevent any issues arising here, with stability being one of the most critical.

Stabiliser and load transfer core muscles assist in understanding injury risk, assessing core muscle function, and developing injury preventionprograms. Let's go through them:


Stabiliser muscles during squats: Directly and indirectly (stabilisers) the squats work our:

  • gluteus Maximus (glutes)
  • m. gluteus medius (glutes)
  • vastus lateralis (thigh)
  • m. vastus medius (thigh)
  • m. vastus intermedius (thigh)
  • m. semitendinosus (thigh)
  • m. semimembranosus (thigh)
  • m. biceps femoris long head (hamstring)
  • m. soleus (calf)
  • m. gastrocnemius lateralis (calf)
  • m. gastrocnemius medialis (calf) 
During squats, the hamstrings function mainly as stabilizers of the ankle, knee, and hip joints by working to control the descent movement of the squat, and by transferring energy among the muscles on the way up.

Also on the way up during a squat, our hip extensor forces produce the largest powers followed by the ankle plantar flexors (extension of the ankle) and then the knee extensors (quads and knees).

The hip and knee extensors also provide the initial bursts of power on the way up when we're squatting. The ankle extensors and a second burst from the hip extensors add power during the latter half of the ascent.

Load transfer core muscles during squats: your glutes, hip adductors, and rectus femoris. The first two muscles are worked well in squats, but the rectus femoris as we've learned is not. 

So as you can see, we are working not only our quads and glutes well during squats but key stabiliser muscles and joints which might help prevent injury in daily life.

Balance and poor core stability are all measured by performance during squats when injury assessment takes place.

So, prevent some potential injuries by ensuring squats form part of your gym routine; it's that simple!  

Reason 4: You'll Be Able To Run Faster

running

Given squats improve force and power output, they'll also increase your sprinting speed.


In this study, fourteen soccer players tested their vertical jumps and sprint times and then did full squats and weighted squat jumps.

And guess what happened? 

Both squat variations resulted in faster sprint times!

Reason 5: You'll Feel Unstoppable

squats
You can do leg extensions, leg presses, and any other leg training variation.

But nothing feels like a few sets of deep squats!

All the "help" from machines is taken out and your body is left to fight alone to push out every rep.

 And there's a magic that comes from this that has to be experienced which does NOT come from any other leg exercise!

So there are five reasons to start squatting: you'll grow your legs well, you'll be able to jump higher, run faster, reduce your likelihood of injuries, and feel bulletproof. And what's not to like about that?


References

Kubo K, Ikebukuro T, Yata H. Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019 Sep;119(9):1933-1942. doi: 10.1007/s00421-019-04181-y. Epub 2019 Jun 22. PMID: 31230110.

Zabaleta-Korta A, Fernández-Peña E, Torres-Unda J, Garbisu-Hualde A, Santos-Concejero J. The role of exercise selection in regional Muscle Hypertrophy: A randomized controlled trial. J Sports Sci. 2021 Oct;39(20):2298-2304. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2021.1929736. Epub 2021 Jul 10. PMID: 34743671.

Hartmann H, Wirth K, Klusemann M, Dalic J, Matuschek C, Schmidtbleicher D. Influence of squatting depth on jumping performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Dec;26(12):3243-61. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e31824ede62. PMID: 22344055.

Marchetti PH, Jarbas da Silva J, Jon Schoenfeld B, et al. Muscle Activation Differs between Three Different Knee Joint-Angle Positions during a Maximal Isometric Back Squat Exercise. J Sports Med (Hindawi Publ Corp). 2016;2016:3846123. doi:10.1155/2016/3846123

Escamilla RF. Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jan;33(1):127-41. doi: 10.1097/00005768-200101000-00020. PMID: 11194098.

Crossley KM, Zhang WJ, Schache AG, Bryant A, Cowan SM. Performance on the single-leg squat task indicates hip abductor muscle function. Am J Sports Med. 2011 Apr;39(4):866-73. doi: 10.1177/0363546510395456. Epub 2011 Feb 18. PMID: 21335344.

Kipp K, Kim H, Wolf WI. Muscle Forces During the Squat, Split Squat, and Step-Up Across a Range of External Loads in College-Aged Men. J Strength Cond Res. 2022 Feb 1;36(2):314-323. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000003688. PMID: 32569122. >br> Kibler WB, Press J, Sciascia A. The role of core stability in athletic function. Sports Med. 2006;36:189-198
López-Segovia M, Marques MC, van den Tillaar R, González-Badillo JJ. Relationships between vertical jump and full squat power outputs with sprint times in u21 soccer players. J Hum Kinet. 2011;30:135-144. doi:10.2478/v10078-011-0081-2