Let’s face it, the average female doesn’t step foot into a gym and walk directly to the weights floor to smash out some squats. There are all kinds of common misconceptions surrounding the squat as an exercise for women. But the squat, the humblest of exercises, in my opinion, should be an absolute go to exercise for women, (and men alike). And in this article, I’m going to tell you exactly why! But, before I go into the some of the awesome benefits of squats for women, I want to educate you a little bit on the squat, so we’re on the same page!
The squat is essentially a lower body exercise, but it is a compound exercise that requires your entire body to work in unison, so it doesn’t isolate your lower body. Take a bicep curl, for example, which isolates and targets the bicep muscle in the upper arm. Then we have the squat which targets your body from head to toe. The squat follows one of life’s most basic and natural movement patterns -- that of standing up from a seated position and sitting down from a standing position. And now for the benefits!
1. Squats are Calorie Burning Monsters
Ladies, you know we like a good calorie burn. And there’s no denying it – squats, amongst any other single exercise, burn the most calories. Now here’s my inner sloth talking, but why would you do 50 reps of one exercise when you could do 10 of another and get the same, if not more benefit? The squat provides you with a bang for your buck!
Why does it burn the most calories I hear you ask? Mostly because it recruits some of your biggest muscle groups, which require the most energy to work. More energy required = more calories burnt.
The high-intensity nature of squats also provides you with a magical scenario called, ‘afterburn’.
Imagine if you could keep burning calories when you’re done with your workout? Imagine burning calories for up to 8 hours after your workout?!
Well, you can!
This does, of course, go for most high-intensity exercises/forms of training, but what better exercise to start with than the squat?
And just for the record, squats don’t make you bulky. Enjoying a diet with a surplus of calories makes you bulky. So, fear not!
2. Squats Build Functional Strength
The amount of times I have been asked, “What are you training for?”, I couldn’t count on two hands! I’m training for life, people! If you also want to train for life, meaning you want to remain strong, functional and free of pain well into your later years of life, then you need to be doing squats.
We humans have become overly ‘cure’ orientated when we should be ‘prevention’ orientated. Squats prevent that many (bad) things, I could write you a list.
Speaking of life training, squats are a fantastic pre and post-natal exercise for women. Squats allow for a strong core, glutes, and legs. There is a direct correlation between a weakness through the glutes/hamstrings and lower back pain. So, squat now, and your back, hips, and knees will thank you later!
If you’re interested in reading about the importance of functional training, In Body USA details it beautifully here
3. Squats Work Your Core Like No Crunch Ever Has
Hate doing crunches? Good. You don’t have to do as much as utter the word again. If you want abs of steel, squat. It’s as simple as that.
Your core should be constantly engaged through a squat movement. Your core includes your stomach region and lower back – your ‘trunk’, effectively. Having a strong core is key to all aspects of movement and performance. Plus, who doesn’t like a nice toned tummy? Which brings me to my next point!
4. Squats Are a Toning Powerhouse
With ‘booty’ being a think of the times, women everywhere are seeking the ultimate toning exercise for the lower body region, specifically their bottoms! The squat requires your glutes, quads, and hamstrings to carry a load of your body in a modified position.
Though these are the primary muscles targeted, there isn’t a muscle group that is not awoken by this exercise, especially when your squats are weighted. So, for full body toning and shaping, make sure squats are a feature of your next workout!
Tips: You can use a squat pad to protect your back & shoulder when doing heavy squats with the barbell.
5. Squats are The Ultimate Metabolism Booster
Ladies, you know how when you hit 30, and suddenly your jeans start getting tighter, and you try to eat less and do excessive amounts of cardio, but nothing helps? It’s called metabolism. And it’s something that starts dying a slow death in your late 20’s.
A slow metabolism leads to weight gain. It also makes it very difficult to lose said weight. Don’t despair though, because doing exercises like our friend the squat, can help reverse this unfortunate life event.
The muscle building and high-intensity features of the squat directly contribute to a speedy metabolism. Keeping in mind, lean muscle mass has a direct and measurable correlation to the number of calories our body burns, simply from being alive, per day. This is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
The higher your basal metabolic rate, the quicker your metabolism, and therefore, the more efficient your body is at burning fat. You can calculate your current basal metabolic rate here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed sharing this information with you! I’m hoping that by now you’re feeling totally inspired to get working on some squats in your next workout! Remember, of all the exercises that exist, it’s fair to say squats provide you with the most benefits.
As with any new exercise, it’s important to master the technique to maximize effectiveness and prevent injury! Watch the video below to see how to correctly perform the basic/beginner squat now that you know about all the amazing things it can do for you.