The 5 Best Squats for Weight Loss

The squat is an excellent exercise to bolster the quadriceps and build up strong legs but does it help you lose weight?

In this article, I’ll share how and what are the best squats for weight loss and how you can incorporate them into your workout regime.

Can You Lose Weight By Doing Squats?

Yes, doing squats can help you reduce 4 to 6 percent of body fat in 8 weeks of the training period. It means if you weigh 70kg and do 100 bodyweights squat three to four times a week, then you may lose 3kg in just two months.

The eight weeks of body mass-based squat training significantly decreased body fat by 4.2 percent and increased lean body mass by 2.7 percent in young males – according to research conducted by the Journal of Sport Science and Medicine.1Takai, Y., Fukunaga, Y., Fujita, E., Mori, H., Yoshimoto, T., Yamamoto, M., & Kanehisa, H. (2013). Effects of Body Mass-Based Squat Training in Adolescent Boys. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, 12(1), 60-65. https://doi.org/https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761779/

Here’s the complete summary of the above research:

  • Purpose: Determine the effects of squat training on body composition, muscular strength, and motor fitness in young males.
  • Number of sessions: 45
  • Squats/day: 100
  • Duration of training: 8 weeks
  • Results:
    • Reduction in body fat- 4.7 percent
    • Increase in lean body mass- 2.3 percent
    • Muscle thickness increased by –  3.2 percent.

The above study has shown squats can help you lose weight as long as you maintain your calorie intake.

Other than weight loss, squatting has other benefits. For example, it increases lean muscle mass and muscle thickness around the thighs, activates metabolic and hormonal responses, and enhances overall conditioning.

Bodyweight squats are also adaptable and functional exercises, and you can do them anywhere you like, such as at home or in the gym.

How Do Squats Help You Lose Weight?

Squats may help you lose weight in the following ways:

  1. Doing squats at high intensity increases VO2 max, meaning your body utilizes the maximum amount of oxygen during exercise. As a result, you’ll burn more calories which will help you stay in a calorie deficit and lose weight.
  2. Squats boost metabolism and quickly convert foods into energy. And when you’re in a calorie deficit, they will use stored fat as energy and speed up weight loss.

Top 5 Squats for Weight Loss and Sturdy Legs

Below are the top 5 squats that can help you lose weight and build sturdy legs at the same time.

1. Jump Squat

It is a high-intensity squat that burns more calories than the traditional one and improves endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

Steps to perform a jumping squat:

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Push up your hips back to squat down until you’re in the seated position.
  • Keep your core and Glutes engaged, and pushing through your into the floor, jump explosively in the air (as high as possible).
  • Land on your feet to complete one rep and go for the next repetitions.
  • Try to perform as many reps as quickly as possible.

2. Squat Thrust

The squat thrust is a great way to get your heart rate up and activate the muscles of your lower body. It improves your leg strength and endurance while also burning tons of calories.

How to:

  • Standing in the hip-width stance, push your hips back to lower your body into a crouching squat with your hands on the floor, and spine as neutral as possible.
  • Engaging your abdominal muscles, kick your feet backward, so you’re in a plank position.
  • Now, reverse the steps to return to the standing position. That will be your one repetition.
  • Try to perform as many reps as quickly as possible.

3. Jumping Lateral Squat

Jumping lateral squat is another explosive squat variation that torches decent calories while strengthening your lower body. You can incorporate this exercise into your weight loss workout plan.

How to do it:

  • Start in a partial squat position.
  • From the squat position, jump high in the air and land into a squat to your right side.
  • Again jump high and land back to starting position. That’s one rep.
  • Do as many repetitions as you can.

4. Plyo Squat

You can also name plyo squat as quick squat because it requires you to squat down and stand back as quickly as possible. Because of the high intensity, it increases power and strength in your legs and annihilates significant calories in a short time.

How to do it:

Standing in the shoulder-width stance, slightly push your hips back and squat down. Then press your heels into the ground and return to the standing position. Do each rep as quickly as possible.

5. Weighted Back Squat

Barbell Back Squat

It is a compound movement that works throughout the lower body, builds up strength and aerobic and anaerobic fitness, and supports fat loss.

How to do it:

  • Place a loaded barbell on your upper trap behind your neck and stand in the shoulder-width stance with your toes pointed slightly outward.
  • Keep your back straight, core tight, and chest up. That’s the start.
  • Lower yourself into a squat position until your hips are just below your knee level.
  • Pressing your heels into the floor, return to the starting position.
  • Keep your lower body and core engaged throughout the movement.
  • Do as many repetitions as possible.

At What Intensity Should You Do Squats?

Doing squats at higher intensity, such as around 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate, allows your body to release more calories, boost metabolism and build up endurance.

High-intense squat workouts increase your heart rate and VO2 max, which help you burn more calories and promote weight loss in the long run.

How Many Squats Should You Do Every Day To Lose Fat?

You can do as many squats as you can. Doing 100 to 200 bodyweight squats at a quick pace three to four times a week can help you lose weight. But it would be best to perform all kinds of cardio exercises along with squats to get the maximum results.

How Many Calories Do Squats Burn?

Doing squats can burn more calories than jogging per minute.

The number of calories your body burns while squatting depends on the number of squats you do and the intensity of the training.

For example, a person who weighs 150 pounds burns 50 calories in 5 minutes. And this will increase as you increase timing and intensity.

The Bottom Line

Squats are easy to perform and require no special equipment. You can do them anywhere and anytime you like.  They help you lose weight, build lean body mass and improve body composition. But you shouldn’t only rely on them for weight loss.

Weight loss is a complex process that requires you to follow a restricted diet and high-intensity exercises. High-intensity squat workouts have a positive impact on weight loss and may reduce 4 to 6 percent of body fat in a couple of months if done consistently.

However, losing weight is more about calorie management, meaning if you’re trying to lose weight, you need to eat fewer calories than your body burns during the entire day.

And for that, you need to consume low-calorie foods that make you feel full for hours. Moreover, you can try intermittent fasting to speed up your weight loss.

References

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Murshid Akram
I'm a certified personal trainer, fitness blogger, and nature lover. I always learn more about exercise science and human anatomy so that I can provide the best information possible. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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