Squatting is largely neglected in modern society — dudes skipping leg day, women wasting away on the elliptical. Especially when it comes to weight loss, there are too many people out there skipping the resistance training portion of exercise and focusing solely on cardio.
Here are 8 reasons why you should hit the squat rack every once in a while instead of running for every workout.
1. Squatting isn’t a huge time commitment.
Running is all about speed and endurance. Once you get your mile time down to where you want it, all you can do is run further. Eventually, you find yourself easily covering 5, 6, 7, 8 miles. Even for fast runners, that’s a lot of time. A good squat session should only take about 10 minutes.
2. It is lower impact on your joints.
Running is notorious for being one of the highest impact exercises you can impose on your joints. We were built to run barefoot on soft soil, but we live in a paved world of concrete and cement. Running long distances on such hard surfaces really taxes the connective tissue. Ever hear of shin splints? Unless you’re squatting really heavy weight, replacing a run or two with a squat session will save your knees in the long run.
3. Your body was built to squat.
Our bodies were built to run short to moderate distances, not marathons. Squatting is by far the most neglected fundamental movement your body was born capable of performing. Look at a baby — babies can squat ass to grass no problem. Think back to Adam and Eve. Do you think they pooped on toilets? We were meant to squat all the way down and do our business on the ground. The constant sitting we do at our desks and on the toilet have made us immobile as a species, and it needs to be combated with squats.
4. Squatting activates more muscles.
Running is a great exercise for your heart and calves. It hits several more areas, but the stimulus is small. Squatting activates your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, adductors, abdominals, and lower back. Resistance training in general creates a larger muscle stimulus than running and the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest. This means you can eat more without gaining weight. If that doesn’t motivate you to squat, I don’t know what will. Speaking of eating more…
5. People who squat can eat more carbs.
Running is an aerobic exercise, so it burns fat as fuel. Squats are primarily an anaerobic exercise. This means that its primary energy source is glycogen, which is your body’s method of storing carbs. If you squat, your body burns the glycogen in your muscles. If your muscles are glycogen-depleted, you can only refill them by consuming carbs. Now get this: they won’t be stored as fat. Instead they’ll go straight to replenishing your muscles (given you eat a reasonable amount). Next time you eat a donut or four after leg day, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re making booty gains.
6. Squatting builds your booty more.
Distance runners tend to have flat booty syndrome if all they do is run. Sprinters? They utilize their glutes a whole lot — their entire legs in fact. They’re a different story. Squatters tend to build large, round glutes due to the hip-hinge-dominant nature of the movement. Would you rather have a flat butt or a squat butt?
7. Squat waists look thinner than runner waists.
In addition to the extra calorie burn induced by having a little more booty muscle, having a larger booty will cause your waist to appear thinner. This gives women that hourglass figure and men that extra asset women actually love.
8. It will give you abs.
Squatting is a compound movement and one of the muscles it hits hard is your abs. Many people have no idea this is the case. Think about it: your torso is pitched forward with a barbell on your shoulders. What’s keep you from folding and falling flat on your face? Your core. There are many bodybuilders out there with chiseled sets of abs who never work them directly. They’ve found it’s a better use of their time to do heavy squats and deadlifts and their abs are doing just swimmingly.
I’m not saying I hate running. In fact, I enjoy running a good mile or two and I suggest most people do so as well on occasion. There are just too many people out there on treadmills and not enough in the squat rack.