There’s no denying that the squat is one of the most beneficial exercises for working the lower body along with your core and stability. While there are over 40 variations of the exercise, the back squat is by far one of the most popular. But what is a back squat and what are its benefits?
A back squat is an effective posterior chain compound exercise that works your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, adductor, hip flexors and lower back. By strengthening the lower body, back squats can also effectively assist in preventing injury when executing full-body movements in every-day life.
Additionally, a correctly performed back squat also targets your core muscles which includes the obliques, rectus abdominis, erector spinae and transverse abdominis.
In-fact, studies have shown that back squats activate core muscles in a greater capacity than when performing a plank.
So, now that we know what a back squat is, let’s take a closer look at the benefits and how to perform one with correct technique.
5 Benefits Of Regularly Performing Back Squats
Squats in general have long held the title for being one of the most effective exercises, particularly for lower body improvements and athletic ability.
The back squat is no exception and here are 6 benefits of performing them.
1. Improved Lower Body Hypertrophy
If your training goals revolve around building muscle, especially in your lower body, then the back squat is for you.
Back squats allow you to load your body with a far greater weight capacity than other comparable lower body exercises such as lunges, split jumps, split squats and step ups.
This makes it far easier to overload and build lower body muscle.
2. Overall Improved Body Movement
While back squats are primarily seen as an exercise to improve strength and muscle, they also contribute to your joint biomechanics and overall strength.
This is one of the many reasons why squats are often used as an effective exercise to aid in the rehabilitation of cruciate ligament injuries like ACL tears and patellofemoral pain syndrome.
The very motion of performing a back squat involves the use of your ankles, knees and hip, and this can assist in the development of ankle, knee and hip muscularity.
Through the strengthening and development of muscles of your posterior chain and joints, back squats assist in improving your overall body movements.
3. Increase In Power And Athletic Performance
Back squats and their effect on power and athletic performance have been studied extensively.
One such study in 2009 showed how a back squat training program positively affected the leg power, jump and sprint performances in junior soccer players. Other studies have also found a correlation between back squats and an increase in jump height.
By incorporating back squats with proper form into your workout routine you’ll be able to build muscular endurance and power.
4. Effective Calorie And Fat Burning
Let’s not forget about calories.
Depending on how heavy you’re lifting, back squats can require significant energy to perform, particularly compared to non compound weight based exercises.
However, there’s no set number of calories burned per hour or squat. This is highly dependent on factors including your current body weight, age, body composition, how much weight you’re squatting and how strenuous the activity is.
5. Improvements In Posture And Balance
Your core muscles are essentially the essence to everything you do. They help to stabilise the body and keep you balanced. Not only when performing exercises or lifting weights, but also in your general life and daily movements.
And while back squats may be a lower body exercise, they do also engage and help strengthen your core which naturally leads to improved posture and balance.
Back Squat Form Tips
Although the back squat is a relatively straightforward exercise, there are a few things that can be implemented to help make mastering the move easier.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you nail the back squat.
- Keep your heels flat on the floor.
- Keep your chin up and focus on a static point in front of you.
- Engage your core.
- Push your elbows forward to stabilise your upper body.
And lastly, we always recommend warming up, stretching and preparing your joints by squatting with just a bare bar for a few reps before loading any weights.