Fitness, Health

What muscles do squats work for?

what muscles do squat work

Squats are an ideal addition to your exercise regimen if you are doing strength training because they work for several muscle groups at the same time. There are many variations to a squat such as holding weights in your arms, placing a barbell on your back and even a burpee which begins with a squat. The best thing about basic squats is that the exercise does not require much room or equipment to do. Therefore, you can add squat training from the comfort of your home. The basic squat begins with spreading your feet about hip-width apart and your arms hanging loosely at your sides. While engaging your abdominal muscles slowly lower your body as if you are sitting on a chair. Stop when your legs form a ninety-degree angle and hold this position. Ensure that your knees do not extend past your ankles because it could cause a serious injury. Hold this position for two seconds then return to the starting position. The variations kick in when you have completed the basic squats for about a month and when you are ready for more intense strength training. Doing this ten to fifteen times per day works as a great exercise to tone the muscles involved. This motion exerts weight and strain on a few muscles as explored in this article.

Gluteus Maximus

The gluteus maximus muscles are located in the buttocks which have become a popular body part to work on. It is a muscle that attaches to the posterior or back portions of the coccyx, iliac crest, ilium, and sacrum on the inside of the pelvis on one end, and to the back of the thigh bone and the iliotibial band, on the other. It is the largest of the gluteus muscles and facilitates hip extension along with the hamstrings on the back of your thigh. When you do squats, the gluteus maximus keeps you stabilized and helps raise and lower your body. This squatting motion makes the gluteus maximus contract eccentrically to control the speed of the downward movement. It also contracts concentrically in order to extend your thighs during the upward movement. Performing squats on a regular basis can help lift your rear end while slimming the area to create toned curves. It is why researchers have concluded that squats can actually help you to get bigger buttocks; because it builds the largest muscle of the buttocks. Pop culture has appraised larger buttocks than smaller ones, and it has become a popular trend to have a large rear end. Therefore, if you want to achieve this look, then squats are the first exercise you should consider.

Erector Spinae

Many people are under the impression that squats are not a back exercise, but this is not true; in fact, squats are one of the best back exercises. Squats help to build the erector spinae muscle which is found in the back. The erector spinae group consists of muscles that span the length of your back on both sides of your spine, attaching to various structures. They include the iliocostalis, longissimus and spinalis muscles. When you do squats, these muscles contract isometrically during both the downward movement and upward movement. These muscles help with balance during squats and help push your body up and down during the exercise. Before you do squats, ensure that you do not have a back injury because it can be strenuous. If you have ever experienced back injury, consult your doctor before attempting to do squats. However, if you are developing a hump or weak back, then doing squats can help to rectify this and make your back stronger and more enduring.


If you have thinner and weaker calves than you desire, then you should consider doing squats. This is because squats help to develop the hamstring muscles which are found between the knees and the ankles. There are three muscles that make up the hamstrings namely the biceps femoris, the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus muscles. These muscles are leg muscles that attach to the back of your pelvis on top, and to the tibia bone of your lower leg, just below the knee joint, at the bottom. Meanwhile, the biceps femoris also attaches to the head of the fibula bone of your lower leg. The hamstrings help the gluteus maximus muscle with hip extension when performing squats. Therefore, they function in the same way as the gluteus maximus when you perform a squat; that is eccentrically during the downward movement phase and concentrically as you return to the starting position. As you do squats, you will most likely feel your hamstrings contract because the legs are the most worked out muscle in this motion. Squats can help to tone your calves if performed on a regular basis; it becomes even better when you add a barbell or kettle bells to your routine. It is important to note that you should never attempt to do squats with a knee or leg injury because of the strain it places on the hamstrings. If you have had knee injury before, consult your doctor before attempting to do squats.


If you want to develop your thigh muscles, then the best exercise to do would be squats because they help to tone the quadriceps muscles. The quadriceps is composed of the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and vastus medialis muscles. The rectus femoris attaches to the anterior inferior iliac spine, just above the hip socket, while the other muscles attach to the thigh bone, just below the hip socket on top. All four muscles then combine at the bottom, attaching to the patella on the front of your knee joint. Basically, they are found in the thigh. The quadriceps muscles act as the primary knee extensions because they contract eccentrically during the downward movement phase of the squat and concentrically during the upward movement phase. During a squat you will feel your thighs tingle with a sharp pain, these are the quadriceps.

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