6 Key Benefits Of Squats
The Benefits of Squats
When you perform a squat you are working your lower body, but what does that mean exactly? It means, to some extent, you are working just about every muscle from your waist down, and there are a lot of them. But instead of turning this into an anatomy lesson (and an argument about whether or not squats work your calves), let’s instead look at movements. Biomechanically, squatting involves powerful knee and hip extension.
Knee extension is pretty obvious, especially if you already know a little about lifting weights. Think of sitting in a chair and straightening out your leg in front of you. The leg extension machine at the gym does exactly that, and it works the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius. These are the muscles we collectively refer to as the quadriceps.
Hip extension is a little more complicated. Think of lying on your back with your knees bent, and then pressing with your feet so your hips come off the floor. Or, think of standing straight and kicking your leg out behind you. That’s hip extension, but from a real-world movement perspective there is a bit more involved.
The major muscles that extend the hip are the gluteus maximus (your butt) and hamstrings. When we are talking about movements like the squat—or running, jumping, climbing stairs, etc – the hip extensors work with the knee extensors to drive the body into an upright position from a bent-kneed position. Even when you are walking on a level surface these muscle are moving you along.
Squats will also have a training effect of your core muscles and abdominals. Altogether, there are a lot of muscles at work when you perform a squat. How hard each muscle has to work is dependent on the type of squat you perform, as well as the weight you use.
So, why am I telling you this? Because knowing exactly what you are working when you squat will help decide if this exercise can help you. Let’s look at some of the potential benefits of the squat.
Video: Leg Day “Bro-Science” (SQUATS BOOST TESTOSTERONE!)
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