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The Many Benefits of Squats and Lunges and What Muscles Are Targeted

Nov 27, 2017

Have you ever wondered what the benefits of squats and lunges are?

We’ve all heard that a couple of the most beneficial exercises to do are squats and lunges but why is that?

In today’s article, we’re going to be going over the major benefits of squats and lunges and also get into some details on each specific exercise.

Before you begin to do squats or lunges make sure your back is protected when you squat by using a high-quality weightlifting belt:

We highly suggest our own leather weightlifting belt:

Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Weightlifting Belt

Our weight belt has been the highest rated and reviewed weight belt out on the market for a long time now so the reviews speak for themselves.

Aside from that let’s dig into the details on the benefits of squats and lunges

The Benefits of Squats and Lunges

Squats and lunges are two incredibly effective exercises that offer numerous benefits.

The major benefits of squats and lunges are great at increasing overall strength, stabilization, and balance benefits as well.

  • Both are functional exercises that will improve your performance of natural, daily, movements
  • They will make you stronger
  • They burn fat: muscle burns fat and more muscle burns more fat
  • Help to maintain balance
  • Increase flexibility and improve range of motion through your hips, glutes, knees and ankles
  • Your buttocks will be strong and toned
  • Strengthens your core in addition to the muscles of the entire lower body
  • Both can be done in a variety of ways, great for all fitness levels
  • Adding a weighted bar or dumbbells will enhance the effectiveness of these movements
  • Versatile exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime, no special equipment needed

Lunges can help you improve your squats and squats can help you improve your lunges so they both work hand in hand.

One great benefit to the lunge is that the movement helps you “even out” muscle imbalances by improving your “weak” side so that it is up to par with your stronger side.

This can result in improved strength with your squats because you are able to eliminate the weaknesses that can hamper your progress.

Squats are a bilateral leg exercise which is best for building overall strength.

Related Article: Why You Should Do Squats

The increasing benefits of squats and lunges also allow you to target your glute muscles, and allow you to isolate and activate the glutes. Your buttocks will be much firmer and toner when you add these two movements to your repertoire.

Squats target the quadriceps and the glutes intensely, but also hit the hamstrings, calves and core.

 How to do a Basic Squat the Right Way:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip distance apart. Point your feet forward or slightly out.
  2. Contract your abs as you keep your spine neutral.
  3. Don’t arch or round your back.
  4. Hinge at the hips to push your hips back. Keep your knees pointing forward, don’t let them collapse inwards.
  5. As you lower down into a squat, keep your abs engaged and spine neutral. Once your back arches or rounds, you’ve exceeded your ‘low point” and that’s as deep as you can squat and still maintain proper form.
  6. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds, then drive through your heels to push your hips forward. Straighten your legs to return to the standing position.

Benefits of Squats:

If asked to choose one weight training exercise that will build overall lean muscle mass and increase strength, look no farther than squats.

For anyone who strength trains squats are the preferred exercise when maximum engagement of the muscles is the goal.

squat benefits

Squats work the thighs (quads, hamstrings, outer thighs), glutes, and core (abdominals and all the muscles that support your spine).

When you squat, you engage all your leg muscles to remain upright and balanced. Squats work a variety of major muscle groups simultaneously.

Related Article: How Many Squats Should You Do A Day

Squats will help work the posterior chain, those muscles of the lumbar, upper back, traps and neck.

A proper squat is a non-impact exercise, and won’t put any pressure on your joints or muscles in your lower body. This makes them safe for just about anyone to perform, even if you have weak knees, ankles, or are very overweight.

Spend 10 minutes doing squats with the correct form and you will target all the right areas with this one exercise.

Once you add squats to your routine you won’t have to spend time going back and forth between various leg-targeting machines at the gym.

It’s important to learn how to squat correctly.

Good form and technique is crucial for maximum benefit and to avoid injury. It’s not a difficult exercise but it might take some practice to master the correct form and positioning.

But once you do, the results are worth the time and effort.

Not only are they one of the best exercises for toning your legs and your backside, they are beneficial to other areas of your body as well.

And if you’re squatting at all you should protect your back by using a high quality weight lifting belt

Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Weightlifting Belt


How to Lunge the Right Way:

  1. Stand with your upper body straight,  your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point in front of you to focus on). Always keep your core engaged.
  2. Place your hands at your side or put them on your hips
  3. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and that your other knee doesn’t touch the floor.
  5. The heel of your back leg should be lifted off the floor as you squat.
  6. Pause for a few seconds in the lunge position before you push through your front foot to slowly return to the starting position.
  7. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position

When practicing lunges the right way, you can actually help strengthen and protect your knees.

Related: The Right Way to Do Squats and Lunges to Protect Your Knees


Benefits of lunges:

Lunges greatly increase your strength and flexibility. They focus on your calves, hamstrings, and all three of your glute muscles.

A certain amount of balance is needed for the correct form.

With lunges you will engage your lower back muscles and your abdominals to stay upright, so you will be working your core and various other muscles at the same time.

benefits of lunging with bar

When lunging you have to work hard to keep your torso upright as you raise and lower your body.

By constantly working on your balance you will find that even normal daily activities can be done more easily. You will also see an improvement in your posture as well.

Lunges are a unilateral exercise and they train one side of your body separately from the other. 

When working one leg at the time you draw upon your balance to react to changes in positioning more quickly.

Studies have found that lunges significantly activate the development of the gluteus medius.

best benefits of squats and lunges

Using weights when you lunge actually helps deload your spine.

Deloading is beneficial, it gives your spine a chance to rest and recover, especially necessary if you have been training for a while.

As an experienced lifter you can place greater compressional pressure on your spine as compared to a beginner.

Adding lunges to light leg workouts can give your spine some needed rest.  The end result is possibly a more flexible spine.

Lunges are a great exercise for those who have serious back pain.

Lunges will help lessen back pain because they tone your core and legs. A stronger core and legs means those muscles will support you more, helping to take the strain off your back and providing it with more support.

Lunges can also strengthen your knees. They will help boost the support, strength and flexibility of the tendons around that area of your body.

When lunging, switching from the front to the side or back, will also change how your muscles are being activated, making them even stronger.

Conclusion for The Benefits of Squats and Lunges:

Both lunges and squats are great exercises and you will see benefits from performing each one. Both play a big role in developing the gluteus maximum.

benefits of squats and lunges

By doing these exercises consistently  you will gain flexibility, balance, coordination as well as stronger lower body muscles, stronger core muscles, great legs and a toned butt.

Since each exercise serves a purpose why not incorporate both? Add squats to some workouts and lunges to a different rotation so that there’s variety in your training program.

Adding new challenges to your workout routines ensures that you maintain your interest and hit the gym as often as possible!

Definitely don’t forget to check out our leather weightlifting belt to use while you squat:

Dark Iron Fitness Genuine Leather Weightlifting Belt