Which muscles do squats work? Fitness trainers answer the most Googled questions

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Which muscles do squats work? Stylist Strong trainers answer the most Googled health and fitness questions.

Tell us the last time you scrolled through your favourite fitness influencer’s Instagram and didn’t see at least one video of them squatting? Whether it’s heavy, loaded barbell squats, a dumbbell goblet squat or body weight versions, squats are probably the most famous resistance exercise that exists. And there’s a good reason why we’re all so obsessed. 

Some people target the obsession with it on the big-bum trend, others turn to it for getting strong, watermelon-busting thigh muscles, and others for use it in their circuits to help with a healthy heart. Here at Stylist Strong, we don’t just recommend throwing an exercise into your routine because everyone else does. No, we think that understanding why you’re doing it is just as important: education is the best motivation we can have, after all.

Each week, three trainers from Stylist Strong, Stylist’s fitness brand that runs strength training classes focused on incorporating weights into fitness, answer some of the most asked questions from women who want to get into lifting. This time, they’re breaking down what muscles squats target, and why we should all do them. 

WHICH MUSCLES DO SQUATS WORK?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“A lot! It’s a big compound move so it’s working multiple muscle groups. That includes the glutes, the quads, adductors (the muscles on the inside of the leg), the hip flexors and anything that works to stabilise the hips. It’s also amazing for the core.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Squats will work a lot of muscles, but mainly your glutes and quads. Changing your foot position, reps and weight can switch up the muscle focus, too.”

DO SQUATS HELP GROW GLUTES?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“One of the main things that people aim to target when squatting is the glutes. But some people can sneak out of hitting the glute muscle and get into quad dominant movement, depending on their style of squatting. Also, not everybody is biomechanically made to squat and it’s really hard for some people. That might mean they move in slightly different ways and the glutes don’t load as much. But when your hip flexes and when your knee comes up towards your chest, your glutes are loading, and that’s what’s happening when you squat. Your thighs are coming closer to parallel so your glutes are loading.” 

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

Squats will build your glutes, especially if you make it into a sumo squat, which is when you have a wider stance with your feet turned out a little.”

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SQUATTING?

TESS GLYNNE-JONES, TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“Because it’s a compound and it’s working multiple muscle groups it’s helping you to build more muscle mass which in turn is going to give you a higher metabolism. It’s also really helping the muscles around the hip, which tend to switch off a lot when you’re at your desk. It’s about helping your body become a bit more functional for your everyday life.”

CAROLINE BRAGG, MASTER TRAINER AT STYLIST STRONG

“They’re a functional exercise and so it’s a movement pattern that our body should be doing. If you think about what babies do, they just sit in a squat the whole time. We were meant to do that. But sitting at desks limits our range so practicing squatting and getting a good, deep squat is really important. It also helps stabilise your pelvis. Think about how the pelvis moves during running, lunging and even walking. It’s really important to have those glutes and adductor muscles. If you don’t, other muscles start to take over and that’s when you start to get runner’s knee or pelvic floor issues.”

READY TO START WEIGHT TRAINING?

Stylist Strong is a fitness brand specialising in strength training specifically tailored for women. Our classes are designed to build both physical and mental strength in a smart and informed way.

So, whether you’re a beginner or already have strength-training experience, Stylist Strong has a class to suit you. Come and try our strength-based classes, including our new yoga classes, at our own purpose-built studio at The AllBright Mayfair.

Images: Getty

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