What Are The Muscles Used In Squats?
Yes, she squats.
You may have heard and seen this popular meme of a saying on the Internet and that just goes to show how popular squat exercises are these days - and not just for women.
Its popularity may be accounted for how effective it is in working out the body and in fact, it’s considered as one of the most effective exercises in toning the lower body, according to the American Council of Exercise - certified fitness professionals.
But given its effectiveness in enhancing the lower parts of our body, it’s still important to be mindful of the specific muscles used in squats. Inform yourself of this helpful information and how you can benefit from doing squats.
Muscle Groups Used In Squats
The hamstrings, consisting of the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus, are all active and engaged when doing squats. This muscle group run along the back of your thigh and is responsible for controlling your descent and allowing you to extend your leg going up.
The quadriceps muscle group includes these four muscles: rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis, and vastus medalis. All of these are located in the front area of your thigh - running from the hip to below the knee - and work hand in hand with the hamstrings in having control in lowering and the ascent of a squat.
The quads are also responsible for increasing the angle between the lower and upper legs, ensuring the right form in doing squats.
3. Gluteus Maximus
Working alongside your hamstrings, the gluteus maximus (essentially known as mainly consisting of your butt) is also heavily involved in controlling the descent and in pushing your body back up.
Squats have now been synonymous to having toned behinds because of how effective it is in the butt-building process. This muscle group, which also includes the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus muscles, are thoroughly active throughout squats exercise.
Among the secondary muscle groups that squats target is the core. The core consists of the rectus abdominis, obliques, and transversus abdominis. In performing weighted squats, the core muscles are put to good use by providing the right support for the spine. A strong core is essential in performing heavy squats and preventing injuries.
5. Erector Spinae
The erector spinae muscle group - comprising of the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis muscles - are vital in supporting the upper body, especially in doing weighted squats. The erector spinae works alongside the transversus abdominis and is known to contract during the descent and ascent movements without shortening or lengthening.
The erector spinae and the core muscles must always be engaged to avoid incurring injuries and to ensure proper form during squat workouts.
Squats may be relatively easy to do, but correct form should still be observed for you to avoid getting injured. The rule of thumb in squat form is to have your rear end in line with your knees, or slightly above, at your lowest point. The knees also cannot go beyond your toes when you go down and should remain aligned with the ankles and the center of your foot.
As for your upper body, your back should stay straight and not arched or hollowed. Fully engage your abs in both the descending and ascending movements to keep the back in proper form. And if you’re doing weighted squats, the best way to go about it is by making the movements slower and by engaging all muscles in going down and back up.
The great thing about squats is how you can play it up to increase the benefits that you’re getting from the workout. Basic squats comprise of having both feet on the floor and with a shoulder-width distance without using any weights. But if you’ve already graduated from that and want to challenge yourself even more, you can proceed to do weighted squat variations to target more muscles used in squats.
You can start with holding hand weights (adjust the weight depending on your strength and capability) by your sides or on your shoulders. But if you’re hell-bent on developing more muscle groups, you can carry a weighted barbell across your shoulder to really push yourself.
Performing squats is a highly beneficial form of exercise and can have very advantageous real-life applications and use. It can allow you to burn more fat, maintain balance and mobility, builds muscle and strength, provide a boost in your sports performance (particularly in jumping higher and running faster), and even promote proper digestion and regular bowel movements.
Squats aren’t only for making your butt look bigger and more toned, and it should be properly incorporated into your workout routine given the several muscle groups it targets. Now that you’re more informed of the specific muscles used in squats, you can better understand its significance and the importance of having the right form with every rep that you do.