If you are an exercise or fitness lover, you must be familiar with the term squats. The most favorite and challenging exercise of athletes is definitely squats. While you see many senior athletes performing multiple squats at a time, you might feel the urge to get to their level. But diving straight into it without knowing your strengths and weaknesses can cost you muscle or back injuries. That’s why it’s imperative that you question yourself how much should I be able to squat? If you find it hard to determine what your limit is, this guide is for you.
What are squats?
It is a strength exercise that works out both the upper and lower muscles of your body simultaneously. Though it is a core exercise, its major targets are muscles located in the lower body. The muscles of the lower body that get targeted in squats are:
- Back of thigh muscles (Hamstrings)
- Front of thigh muscles (Quadriceps)
- Muscles of buttocks (Gluteus maximus, minimus, medius)
- Muscles of the groin (Adductor)
- Muscles of calves
The first step towards learning your limit of squats is to know the correct way of performing squats. A basic squat is laid out in the following steps:
Step 1: Stand with your both feet shoulder-width apart, with a straight back and knees pointing forward.
Step 2: Settle yourself in the above position and start bringing your knees down to a 90-degree angle.
Step 3: When you feel the tension in your glutes and thigh muscles, take a pause and then return to the starting position.
When you’ll start performing basic squats, soon you’ll upgrade yourself to bell bar squats, which will need you to carry different sized weights to exert pressure on your lower body muscles.
How much one should be able to squat?
This one is a really tricky question. To answer this question, you need to know the variation of squats, whether it’s back or front squats; the experience level; your age; your gender; your body weight; your available barbell options. All these factors combined decide what’s the optimal number of squats you can perform in a set.
If you are a beginner, mastering basic bodyweight squats should be your first priority. You can start by performing 20 consecutive squats, and can keep increasing the number until you reach the maximum level, i.e., 80-100 repeats. There is no hard and fast rule about it; you only need to perform as much as you can without straining yourself.
After mastering bodyweight squats, you can decide what kind of squats you are aiming for next. Usually, people opt for a barbell back and front squats, for muscular stimulation and growth. The standards of this squat type are based on your muscle fibers, body built, height, age, weight, gender, and physical training. Physical trainers and experts have compiled a list of standards that can be kept as an example while setting your realistic fitness goals.
According to your present fitness condition, if you are a male who has never squatted before with weight, you are expected to squat with around 60% of your body weight. With an increase in your level of practice, once you reach the advanced level, you’ll be able to squat your bodyweight plus 40-60% of your body weight.
If you are a woman, and a beginner, your standard squat condition will be around 50-60% of your body weight. Until you reach the level of advanced, squatting with your body weight plus 20-30% of your body weight will be a piece of cake for you.
Though there are some extremities in squatting which require you to hold 2x or 3x of your body weight. If you are not an Olympic player, we’ll never recommend you to strain yourself holding such heavyweights, which can risk the stability of your spine or will get a herniated disc for sure.
Benefits of squats
The list of benefits is quite long but to name a few, they can help with:
- Core muscle strengthening
- Burn calories
- Strong lower body muscles
- Reduced risk of muscle injury
- Easy to perform and keep you motivated
Side-effects of squats
There are no side effects of this exercise, only the risk of injury if you will perform your squats in an unbalanced form. To avoid that, keep your back in a straight position, bend and lift only as much as you can. Even if you lift less weight than others, it’s gonna work. You might see the difference later than the others, but it’s better than getting bedridden due to prospective injuries that happen during heavy weightlifting.
Squats are a popular lower body exercise, which strengthens your leg muscles. Your age, gender, and weight play an important role in your squat performance, and it’s necessary that you keep these factors in mind while deciding how much weight to carry during squats. Else you can suffer from a fatal spine injury, which might leave you in a vegetable state. The whole game is to be wise and careful about the weight you carry according to your fitness goals and resistance training.
I look up to fitness as a lifestyle and love to pen down about it. I have 2 years of experience in content writing and I am here to share my research and knowledge on health and fitness.