Legs

13 Amazing Fitness Benefits Of Heavy Squats

benefits of heavy squats

The traditional back squat is one of the most effective exercises you can perform.  

Not only will it increase strength and muscle mass to your lower body, but there are many other benefits of heavy squats making them a great addition to your workout routine.  

Squat exercises are a technically challenging movement that engages several different muscle groups across your entire body, especially your posterior chain being all your leg muscles, your glutes and lower back.  


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In this article, we’re going to look at the many benefits of squats and why it’s a good idea to incorporate them into your strength training.  

Before we do that, let’s look at some of the variations of squats you can do and how they differ.  

If you’re new to squatting, it’s important to start off with low or no weight.  

This is so you can concentrate on getting your form right before adding in heavy loads.  

The Different Types Of Squats

There are many squat variations with each type of squat targeting your muscles differently and offering their own unique benefits.  

Here are some of the most common types of squats you can incorporate into your workout routine:

Bodyweight Squats

Body weight squats are a great place to start if you’re new to squatting as they’ll allow you to concentrate on proper form.  

This is the most basic squat that requires no equipment meaning you can do them pretty much anywhere.  

Bodyweight squatting

Goblet Squat

The goblet squat is a variation of the traditional squat exercise that involves holding a weight close to your chest as you perform the squatting motion.

It’s a great way of promoting proper squat form.  

The name “goblet squat” comes from the way you hold the weight, resembling the grip on a goblet.

Goblet Squat Position

Front Squat

With the front squat exercise, instead of holding a barbell across your upper back it’ll be positioned across the front of your shoulders.  

The different placement of the weight load means that this is better if you want to place more emphasis on your quadriceps.

The benefit of the front squat compared to the back squat is that you can usually squat in a more upright position allowing for a greater range of motion.  

So, if deep squats are your thing, give front squatting a go.  

Barbell Front Squatting

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squat is a unilateral squat variation meaning that you work one side at a time.  

You’ll unlikely be able to squat heavy weight with this variation but it is a great way of improving your balance, stability, and co-ordination.  

Bulgarian Split Squat

Overhead Squat

The overhead squat is to perform a squat in the normal whilst holding a barbell overhead.  

You’re not going to be able to squat heavy weights during this variation however, it’s a good way of improving shoulder and core strength.  

Overhead squat

Box Squat

The box squat is a squatting variation that involves using a box or bench as a reference point for controlling depth and ensuring proper squat form.

This exercise is particularly useful for individuals who want to improve their squat mechanics, work on explosive strength, and address any issues related to depth and technique.

This squat variation is commonly used in powerlifting and strength training routines.

box-squat

Single-Leg Squats

Single-leg squats, sometimes called the pistol squat, is a very challenging squat variation that can help to improve your strength, balance, and stability.  

It’s a unilateral movement where you perform a squat on one leg while the other leg is extended in front of you.

Single Leg Squatting

Jump Squats

Jump squats are a dynamic plyometric exercise that combines a squatting motion with an explosive jump.

It’s a great exercise for developing lower body power, explosive strength, and improving your overall athleticism. 

Squat jumps are often used in sports training, plyometric routines, and fitness programs to enhance vertical jump height, agility, and overall lower body explosiveness.

box squat exercise

Benefits of Heavy Squats

Aside from building muscular and strong legs, below are some of the benefits you can expect by incorporating heavy squats into your workout routine. 

Increased Muscle mass

One of the primary benefits of heavy squats is increased muscle mass.

When you perform heavy squats, you’re putting your muscles under a significant amount of stress, stimulating the muscle fibers resulting in tiny tears.  

As this damaged muscle tissue repairs itself, the muscles grow back larger adding to their size and definition.

Improved Functional Strength

Regular heavy squatting is one of the best ways for improving your functional strength.  

Squats mimic natural human movements like sitting down and standing up.

Developing strong squatting abilities can enhance your functional strength, making everyday activities that involve pushing, pulling, and lifting much easier. 

Increased Lower Body Strength

Heavy squats are one of the most effective exercises for increasing lower body strength.

When performed with heavy weights, squats can lead to significant gains in muscle strength and overall lower body power.

Improved Bone Density

Heavy squats can contribute to improved bone density through a combination of weight-bearing stress and mechanical loading on the bones.

Weight-bearing exercises involve supporting your body weight against gravity. Heavy squats involve lifting substantial weight loads.

The stress and loading placed on your body can stimulate bone remodelling, leading to increased bone density. 

Better Hormonal Response

Heavy compound movements like squats stimulate the release of hormones such as testosterone and human growth hormone, which are essential for muscle growth and overall health.  

Increased Weight Loss

High-intensity exercises like heavy squats can lead to an “afterburn” effect, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC).  

After a heavy squatting session, your body continues to burn calories at an elevated rate as it recovers and restores energy stores.  

This helps to reduce any unwanted body fat.  

Improved Core Stability

While squats are often thought of as a lower body exercise, they engage the core muscles to stabilize your spine and support the body throughout the movement.  

When performed often, heavy squats can help to improve core strength and stability.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Squats translate well to various sports and activities that require lower body strength and explosive power, such as sprinting, jumping, and lifting.  

This is because heavy squatting improves strength, power, and your ability to perform functional movements.  

Injury Prevention

Heavy squats target the muscles and ligaments around your hips, knees, and ankles.

Strengthening these areas provides greater stability and support for the joints, reducing the risk of injury caused by muscle imbalances or weak stabilizer muscles.  

Central Nervous System Activation

The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord and is responsible for coordinating and controlling your bodily functions, including muscle contractions and movement.

When you perform heavy squats, your CNS is heavily engaged to help regulate and coordinate the complex movement pattern and the muscle contractions involved.

More Time Efficient

Squats target multiple major muscle groups in a single exercise, making them an efficient way to maximize your training time.  

As heavy squats activate many muscles at once you can achieve a significant training stimulus in a relatively short period.

This can be especially beneficial if you have limited time for your workouts.

​Improved Co-ordination

Another benefit of heavy squats is improved balance and stability.

As you squat down and stand back up with a heavy weight, your body is forced to maintain proper form and balance.

Over time, this can lead to improved stability and coordination.  

Better Posture

Proper squat technique requires core engagement to help stabilize the spine.

Strengthening the core muscles, including the rectus abdominis, transverse abdominis, and obliques, contributes to good posture by supporting the spine and maintaining a neutral alignment.

The Correct Squat Form to Prevent Injury

Performing squats with proper form is crucial to prevent injuries.

If you’re new to squatting, you may find it difficult to get to a good depth.  

This is actually very common and tends to be caused by weak glutes and hip flexors, along with poor ankle and hip mobility.  

However, with regular practice, and the guidance of a personal trainer, you’ll be performing well executed heavy weight squats in no time.  

Below are some suggested tips for maintaining proper squat form:

  • Keep your elbows tucked into your torso as you squat to engage your lats and help with stability. 
  • Don’t shift your weight onto your toes or heels as you descend into the squat. 
  • Keep your chest up and your back straight throughout, avoid rounding your lower back.
  • Engage your abdominal muscles to maintain stability and balance.  
  • Ascend from the squat by pushing through your heels and using explosive power.
  • When descending into the squat, keep your elbows under your wrists.  

It’s important to note that how a squat is performed will vary from person to person and based on their anatomy.  

For example, it tends to be easier for those who are shorter to perform a squat with a full range of motion.  

This makes sense, as someone with shorter legs won’t have to descend as far to achieve a good depth.  

Last Words

The squat is often referred to as the king of exercises and with good reason.  

Regular heavy squat training is one of the best ways of achieving your fitness goals, whether that’s muscle building, improving overall strength or making daily activities easier to perform.  

This compound exercise deserves a place in exercise routine.  

Now that we’ve explored the benefits of heavy squatting, it becomes evident that performing the exercise with correct form is crucial.

Proper technique not only maximizes the effectiveness of the movement but also minimizes the chance of injury.  

By adhering to proper form, you can safeguard your joints, protect your muscles, and create a solid foundation for continuous progress. 

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