Why The Top 10 Benefits of Barbell Squats Matter for you!
I know if you are working out at home, doing heavy barbell squats can be tough.
But you should not ignore barbell squats.
Research after research suggests that it is one of the most effective exercises to burn calories and build muscle in the Legs.
Pro-tip: If your budget permits, you should get a squat rack and Olympic barbells, and Olympic plates to do heavy barbell squats.
Your squat rack will be your spotter and live safer.
What are the benefits of barbell squats?
Squat provides tons of benefits if you do them correctly.
There are thousands of studies done on the effects of barbell squats on our bodies and here are the most common benefits of doing barbell squats.
Squats help build muscle
A 2018 study tells us 6 sets of squats seem to drive the growth hormones crazy, and they make you build more muscles. Thus, the no 1 benefit that the King of the exercises brings you is muscle growth and leg strength.
Squats help you build muscle and burn calories. And since you are doing it, you should do it right.
You should do full barbell squats or at least parallel squats. This study done in the year 2020 shows that people who do full squats or at least parallel squats are able to increase their 1 rep max.
Growth in 1 rep max means more strength.
And the more weight you can lift, the more muscles you can make.
It is seen that free-weight squats like barbell squats activate at least 43% more muscles than a smith machine squat.
Squats improve mobility and flexibility
Squats are a type of exercise that can help improve your mobility and flexibility.
If you can not do ass to grasses type of deep squats, then you should do them with body weight first and slowly add weights.
Deeper squats are often associated with back and ankle mobility.
By including squats in your regular routine, you can see an improvement not only in your squat performance, but also in other exercises or activities that require good balance and flexibility.
This study done over a span of 12 weeks shows that home-based squat workouts improved performance and limb function in older adults.
Squats burn calories
The average person burns around eight calories per minute while doing squats. Additionally, having more muscle improves metabolism and results in weight loss.
A study published in the year 2017 shows that half squats burn the most calories at 11 kcal per min.
So if you are into losing weight or boosting your metabolism, then you should include squats in your workouts.[Goblet squat vs Barbell Squat]
Squat calorie burning calculator:
Squats improve your posture
Squats are a great exercise for improving posture because they target muscles in the core and lower body that are essential for good posture.
Most of the time, wall squats are used to correct posture in adults.
Also, you should consider your posture while you are doing your squats.
If you see that you are compromising.
Squats can increase your vertical jump
Squats are an exceptional exercise for increasing your vertical jump.
When you squat, you strengthen your lower extremities, which leads to improved jumping ability.
Stronger legs can lead to better performance in any sport that requires leg strength or power, such as basketball, football, or track and field.
This study from The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research confirms that both front and back squats can help with jumping ability!
Build Stronger Joints
If done correctly, squats can enhance your knee stability—a study done in 2001 often comments that athletes should do parallel squats for better stability over a deep squat.
It is important to maintain proper form while performing squats in order to minimize joint stress and avoid injury.
Wrongly done squats might cause you knee pain, so when working at home, be mindful of the weight you are using and your form.
And you can choose to go parallel or just below the knee.
Check this YouTube video from the Keesovertoesguy if you are concerned about getting your knee pass over your toes!
Squat helps in sprinting faster
Heavy back squats in particular have been shown to improve sprinting speed.
This is likely because squats improve power output, which affects sprinting speed.
Squats are also great for improving your lower body strength and as per this 2014 study strength often leads to greater sprint performance.
Heavy Barbell back squats are proven to help with sprinting. Coaches are often advised to incorporate back squats into their athlete’s routines.
Squat can produce more power
The squat is a foundational movement that should be a staple in any workout routine.
Numerous studies have proven that squats produce a lot of power.
This, study shows that weight between 30-70% of 1 RM weight which is really moderate is optimal for generating power.
Less 30% load resulted in the highest power production doing jump squats.
70% or more of 1 rep max increases peak power production when you are doing hang power clean or power clean.
Suddenly, reading this research lit a light bulb in me. No wonder, every ones programs squat in an Olympic lifting program.
Improved Core Strength
Squats are a great exercise for improving core strength, leg strength, and posture.
This awesome study tells us to incorporate exercises like squat over isolating core exercises. Squat wins again.
However, I would ask you to do some dynamic core training. You can check the core workout below to have some ideas!
What are the different variations of barbell squats?
What is a Front Squat?
A front squat is a squat where the weight is held in the front rack position, which is a position where the bar is held across the clavicles and the elbows are in front of the bar.
The back squat is a weightlifting exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks. It is a compound exercise that also involves the muscles of the lower back, upper back and shoulders.
Half squat is a form of squatting in which the person only goes down halfway. This is a beginner’s version of the squat exercise and can be used to increase strength and flexibility in the hips, legs, and ankles.
Box squats are a variation of the traditional squat exercise that involve sitting down on a box and then standing back up.
This variation is used to increase the range of motion in the squat and to place more emphasis on the glutes and hamstrings.
Sumo squat is a type of squat where your feet are wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes are pointing out.
The split squat is a unilateral lower-body exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings and glutes. The exercise can be performed with a barbell or dumbbells.
The Zercher Squat is a squat variation that is performed with a barbell placed in the crooks of your elbows, hence the name Zercher.
This squat variation is a great way to increase the load on the squat and also increase the loading on the core muscles.
What are the common mistakes people make when doing barbell squats?
Not squatting deep enough
When you squat deep, you recruit more muscles and this results in greater strength gains. The basic squat (parallel squat) is the most common form of the squat, but there are also deep squats and partial squats.
And experts often recommend doing parallel squats as going deep might injure your knees.
But our man, the Kneesovertoesguy have something else to say!
I would say, if you can go too low like ass to grass, then you should at least go parallel.
Not using a weight that is challenging but possible to complete
When you are squatting with weights, it is important to use a weight that is challenging but possible to complete.
For example, pick some weight with which you can do 3 reps with 10 repetitions without compromising form. But it should not be easy, you can do 10 more reps or do 1 set.
You can find this weight by trial and error only.
If you can find your 1 rep max, you can use that online calculator to get your 60/70% weight as well.
No matter what you do, don’t use a weight which is too heavy.
Not maintaining proper form
Bad form with barbell squats, puts you in the harm’s way. It is wise to take the risk of injuring yourself.
Most of the time, lifting a too-heavy weight causes a bad form, thus a high chance of injury.
Not breathing properly
Proper breathing while doing squats is the way to ensure getting enough oxygen in your body.
Also, breathing helps with bracing so that you can lift heavy weights safely.
If you are not breathing properly, then you put yourself at risk of injury.
Not stretching After Workout
If you don’t stretch after a workout, your muscles might feel stiff. Also, this leads to a higher risk of injury.
Also, 5-10 minutes of a stretching session will help you get rid of that DOMS to some extent.
Not warming up before heavy squats
It is important to warm up before heavy squats to reduce the risk of muscle injuries.
It is often recommended to do warm-up sets with 45%,65% and 85% of 1 rep max.
And after that, you do your work set of 90%-100% workout set.
And this is only necessary for the first workout.
What Muscles are Worked by the Barbell Squat?
The barbell squat is a compound exercise that recruits many muscles, including the primary muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.
Additionally, the barbell squat also recruits several secondary mover muscle groups, such as the hip flexors, calf muscles, and lower back muscles.
Thus, you can see that apart from chest and arms, squats train your entire body.
How do squats help your body?
Squats are a great exercise for your lower body and can help you achieve a variety of benefits. Squats can help you gain muscle, boost your T levels, lose weight, and increase your jump and sprinting level as well.
Even if you are not an athlete, squats can help you increase mobility and strength.
In this age of sitting in front of computers for hours, you should them. The Health benefits of squats are really awesome, you just have to be consistent.
How often should you do squats?
Squats are often recommended to do 2-3 times a week if you are doing weighted squats. You can do bodyweight squats more than 3 times a week.
However, there are no strict rules about doing squats per week, it all depends on your programming and goals.
I try to squat two times per week, with one day of heavy squats and another day with moderate weights.