The old adage that you must squat for big legs is synonymous with eating big to get big or performing cardio for getting lean. Call it bro science or real science; there is some real merit to go along with the notion that squatting in its infamous and various forms is of huge benefit. Back squats, front squats, box squats, Bulgarian split squats, Jefferson squats, Zercher squats, prisoner squats, goblet squats, you name them, they all require a similar (albeit, different transfers of load) biomechanical function to help pack more muscle and strength onto the lower body.
To be convinced of the benefits one must undergo the obligatory rite of passage and experience a true, correctly performed squat in order to reap the ever-sought-after award of more muscle. Additionally, this will take toiling away week after week in the depths of the gym, cranking out rep after grueling rep until true muscular failure dictates when the set should be terminated. And then get back up and do it all over again. Correct range of motion, form and function are all musts so as to not only avoid injury and risk being indeterminately sidelined, but to also gain the strength advantage to do battle another day.
Below are 20 reasons, for all intents and purposes, to squat. Again, not an absolute must in life, but definitely worth your best effort. So, leave your ego at the door, squat right and for possibly the first time on a leg day, have some freakin’ fun!
1. Squats build muscle all over
Not only do they build muscle and strength in the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, they also create the ideal environment throughout the entire body. Naturally releasing testosterone and growth hormone, squats provide a highly anabolic environment for all other areas to grow when trained. If you want to increase muscle mass and strength in all areas, squatting will help you get there.
2. Squats burn more fat
Muscle burns fat. More muscle burns more fat. Being efficient at packing on muscle mass, the squat is a highly effective way to burn more fat. The more muscle you have on your frame, the more calories you will burn during training and at rest. If you want to get lean, stick to the big compound lifts namely the squat.
3. Squats are functional
Yes, the old school squat has finally been mentioned in the same breath as the uber-trendy term functionality. Once thought of as an exercise reserved for highly trained athletes and top-level bodybuilders, the squat has made its way from the depths of “moves to avoid” to being one of the most real-world applicable exercises of all. The squat can relate to a myriad of real-life activities helping to avoid injury and increasing efficiency in everyday life.
4. Squats help maintain mobility
By simply increasing overall lower body strength, squats help maintain mobility immensely. Furthermore, by performing squats in a full range of motion you can strengthen the leg muscles at all points enabling you to help prevent weaknesses and increase strength during other performance-related, mobile activities.
5. Squats maintain balance
This goes hand-in-hand with mobility. Creating more balance in turn will help facilitate more strength helping you to develop more muscle mass on those wheels. This also translates to other compound lifts as well such as deadlifts, bent-over barbell rows, push presses, clean and presses for upper body and help provide a foundation of balance and function for other lower body lifts such as lunges, single-leg squats and leg presses.
6. Squats boost performance
Not only will squats put on appreciable amounts of size and strength on your legs, they will also increase performance by helping you jump higher and run faster. This is significant for those involved in sports either for the organized team player or weekend warrior. Squats serve to improve performance that covers a wide spectrum of sports (along with balance and mobility). They are truly the universal exercise.