What Muscles Does Squats Work?

One of the most popular and integrated exercises in a workout routine is definitely the squat. Every single routine you find that delivers on a complete body workout will have squats in them for sure. If it doesn’t then I would honestly say that it is missing a key factor and might not be optimized at all. So, what muscles do squats work and are there any helpful reminders you should be aware of to fully maximize the benefits of this simple yet effective exercise?



What Muscles Does Squats Work?

While squats are definitely one of the simplest exercises to do, it is by no means as easy as it sounds. In fact, most would say squats can be quite difficult especially if it is your first time doing the exercise routine. It can take a significant toll on your legs and thighs during your first round of this exercise, take it from me.

Now, why has this become an essential exercise in all full-body workout routine? Let’s find out just which parts of the body benefit from this exercise and what other benefits it is able to deliver. Afterward, we will also discuss a couple of key techniques you need to keep in so that you will be able to maximize the effects of this exercise.

Squats – Which Muscles Benefit the Most?

Squats are designed to give you a full-body workout with just a few simple movements. It can target major muscle groups in the body, trimming them and helping develop leaner muscles. It can also help burn off fat. The major muscles that will greatly benefit from squats are the back and legs but let us go into further details, shall we?


Gluteus Maximus

This is located at the back and is the muscle that connects the parts of the coccyx, ilium, sacrum and iliac crest. It holds together the pelvis down the thigh bone and the IT band or iliotibial band.

In terms of size, this is the largest gluteal muscle. It assists in hip extensions and works side by side with your hamstrings.

When squatting, your gluteus maximus will contract during squat motions which will help build up strength and stability in the long run.

What Muscles Does Squats Work?

Erector Spinae

What Muscles Does Squats Work?

Yes, squats also work wonders on your back. This is because your spine will contract during the upward and downward portion of the exercise.

The erector spine includes the spinalis, longissimus, and iliocostalis muscles which cover the almost the entirety of your back and the sides of your spine.



The semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and the bicep femoris are the three major muscles that make up the hamstrings. These are also the muscles that will get much of the activity during squats and as such will gain most of the benefits.

As stated earlier, the hamstrings will work side by side with your gluteus maximus during the squat exercise. It helps in extending the legs during the upward and downward movement.

What Muscles Does Squats Work?


What Muscles Does Squats Work?

Consisting of your rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and vastus lateralis, the quadriceps are located around your thigh and knees. They help in extending the knee during squats and is again one of the primary muscles that will benefit from this exercise. Squats will help develop leaner and stronger muscles around your lower body and the quadricep is one that will gain the most.

Squats are generally good for a full-body workout. It has earned its spot as one of the most reliable ways to exercise, burn fat and build lean muscle mass. It is also a perfect example of an exercise that is easy to pickup but hard to master. But the results will be worth it. Now, let us go through essential tips and techniques to help you maximize your squats.

Squat Tips and Techniques

Remember that you can go about doing squat exercise in one of two ways: the regular squats and the weighted squats. But you should never go directly to weighted squats if you have yet to fully master the regular squat exercise first.

Proper Form in Squats:

When performing squats, you should always remember the basics in order to help optimize the results of your session. Below are several tips that you should always keep in mind during squat exercises:

  • Do not arch or curve your back during squats. If you are having a hard time with this and often find yourself with a bad posture during squat exercises, one simple yet effective tip I can give you is to always keep your head up. This will allow you to subconsciously maintain a straight body. You should also contract and tighten your abs.
  • Go low until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Go as low as you can until you can feel your thighs burning. This is a good sign you’re doing it right. Not going low enough will only work against you in the long run.
  • Go for a sitting posture and don’t let your knees extend past your feet. You should land on a sitting posture with your back straight.

Once you have graduated from regular squat exercises then you can go for weighted squats. You will need a squat rack for this which you can buy at your fitness equipment shop or online. I recommend the Fitness Reality 810XLT Super Max Power Cage for a more serious workout or the Akonza 2PCS Adjustable Squat Rack for those who are on a budget and are simply looking for a medium intensity workout.

Here is a quick video on how to do weighted squats:


What Muscles Does Squats Work?

Squats are a highly recommend exercise which helps build stronger muscles and helps you lose weight. As stated earlier, you can try out the weighted squat exercise once you have the regular squats down to pat. The Akonza 2PCS Adjustable Squat Rack should deliver what you need if you are simply looking to maintain a healthy body.

Hope you found this article helpful and don’t forget to comment down below if you have anything further to add in terms of tips.

Harvie Brenton

I’m Harvie Brenton, chief editor at strongmusclegrowth.com! Believing in the great benefits of bodybuilding and fitness to the body, I’ve been motivated to become a fitness enthusiast. It also was what gave me the self-confidence and assurance to me both physically and psychologically. Hopefully, you will come along for the ride with me.