Squats are considered to be one of the most fundamental compound exercises. There are few movements as effective for building muscle, and increasing strength and power. If you are not currently including them in your workout routine, you need to be.
Why are squats considered by many to be “the king of all exercises”?
1. Boost Testosterone
Squats involve some of the largest muscle groups in your body and require a high amount of energy. When performed correctly, the movement triggers what is known as a neuroendocrine response. In short, this response causes the release of extra testosterone and growth hormone in your bloodstream. This in turn will help you to build more muscle and increase strength not only in your legs, but your upper body as well.
2. Increase Core Strength
There are only a few other exercises out there that can arguably match squats when it comes to engaging multiple muscles in the body. Not only do they strengthen the glutes, quads, and hamstrings, but they engage the core and require a great deal of core strength. You simply cannot squat heavy without a strong core.
3. Burn Maximum Calories In Shortest Amount Of Time
With squats, you get a lot of bang for your buck because of the fact you are recruiting so many different muscles and they are so taxing on your body. You burn a lot more calories than you do with an isolated movement like the leg extension for example. So they are great for maximizing your time when working out.
Speaking of maximizing your time, one of the most efficient ways to burn more calories is to actually gain more muscle. For every pound of additional muscle you gain, your body will burn an additional 50-70 calories per day. So, if you gain 10 pounds of muscle, you will automatically burn 500-700 more calories per day than you did before.
4. Prevent Injuries
There are some who will argue that squats are bad for your knees. On the contrary, there have been numerous studies conducted which prove that when done properly, squats strengthen and tighten your knee ligaments as well as increase knee stability. This is important because most athletic injuries involve weak ligaments and stabilizer muscles. Therefore, squats actually help PREVENT injury by strengthening these areas as well as improving flexibility and balance.
Injuries to the knee itself from squatting typically only occur when the lifter either uses incorrect form, or uses more weight than they should be for their strength level.
5. Functional Movement That Translates To Everyday Life
And perhaps my favorite part, squatting is a functional movement. Functional exercises are those that help your body to perform normal everyday activities. I can’t think of a single example where a leg extension would translate over to something you would have to do in a real life situation. On the other hand, humans have been squatting since the beginning of time. You squat every time you sit down or get up out of your chair, lift a heavy piece of furniture, or pick your baby up and carry them. Learning how to squat correctly will help you to perform these tasks without throwing your back out.
Committed To Your Health,
Brian Donovan is a certified fitness and nutrition coach, and the founder of Online Fitness Coach, LLC – an online fitness program where clients get direct coaching and personally tailored training and nutrition plans. Coach Brian was voted Chicago’s “Best Personal Trainer” by Chicago Reader magazine, Best Of Chicago 2014 edition. He has been featured in magazines such as Muscle & Fitness, Chicago Reader, Voyage Chicago, and The PTDC as well various other health and fitness blogs.
P.S. Have you joined our FREE Facebook Group yet? Connect with others on the same journey as you. Inside of our community we debunk health and fitness myths, post free workouts, healthy recipes, and other useful tips for losing weight and increasing lean muscle.