Whether you are new to the world of vegan bodybuilding, or just interested in a new fitness routine, squats are the answer! One of the “big 3” muscle building gym activities, squats work your whole body, not just those glutes and hamstrings! Read on to learn more about the benefits of squatting.
The Benefits of Squats
The squat exercise is one of the best you can do for your body. This is particularly because of the muscle groups that are worked when correctly executing perfect squat form. The squat works your legs, core, and even upper body when adding free weights or a kettlebell. Here 8 of the top reasons to add squats to your weekly routine:
1. Build Muscle
We all know that when muscles worked, muscles are built. Squats not only build muscle in your butt and legs, but build muscles in your middle and upper body as well. That is, when they are properly executed. This makes for a total body exercise in one motion! And don’t think that strongly built muscles necessarily mean big and bulky muscles (ladies. . . ahem. . .). Strong, big muscles support your whole body’s functioning as we age, decreasing and delaying the loss of average lean muscles that are not as big.
2. Increase Strength
Because squats work your whole body, your overall strength will increase. By starting just with bodyweight squats, you will increase your body’s ability to properly hold itself up. Your body will be better equipped to carry itself in different positions and circumstances throughout the day. Use your own weight to train your muscles! When adding weights to your strength training routine, you are increasing your level of strength exponentially.
3. Burn Fat
Strength training (and weight training in general) burns more calories than cardio aerobic exercise alone. More fat is burned when you are lifting more weight. Because squats initially work more muscles and muscle groups than other exercises, more fat is burned. Add in more than just your bodyweight and even more fat is burned!
4. Increase Endurance
As one fitness blogger noted, the squat exercise is “like putting a bigger engine in your car”. Squats will not bulk you up to slow you down, but will rather increase your endurance in running and other cardio aerobic exercises. Because you have gained more muscle mass and strength with your squat routine, your overall fitness and stamina (endurance) will also increase.
5. Stronger Joints
Though many have argued that squats are hard on your knees, when performed correctly, squatting will work to strengthen your knees. Hear me on this: the key is proper squat form! Do your research and ask a fitness trainer to spot you and make any adjustments or corrections early on before bad habits are established or injury occurs! When mastered, the squat will strengthen your knee, hip, and ankle joints as well as your spine, tendons, and all of those connective tissues. Stronger joints will actually protect you against injury!
6. Strengthen Bones
It is easy to think that bones are brittle and easily broken. Well, we hope that isn’t the case, though it can be for some people! If you are in general over-all health, your bones are strong, living tissues that heal, grow, and regenerate. Your bones will strengthen under the pressure and weight of compression when utilizing proper form and weight load. Because strength training weighted exercises like squats increase your bone density, your whole body is strengthened, down to the very bones!
7. Increase Balance and Flexibility
Squatting with free weights or a barbell will increase your balance as you train your muscles and bones to properly support the weight that is being moved throughout the exercise. Squatting exercises strengthen and flex all of your leg muscles and lower back. This means that your hips, middle, and lower body will all increase in flexibility.
8. Get Rid of Cellulite
Number 8 may be more relevant and exciting for the ladies out there concerned about their bikini bottoms, but men can hear this one too! Squats are going to totally restructure your physique. The plump toning of your buns that comes with this exercise will help you reach your fullest potential of physical fitness and sculpture. Be prepared to wow yourself when you look in the mirror after just a few weeks of incorporating squats into your routine.