A fitness enthusiast wondering 'How Many Squats Should I Do a Day ' as she performs a goblet squat with a dumbbell in a modern gym setting, clad in white leggings and a black sports bra, red ponytail and earphones in place, with more gym equipment and fellow exercisers in the background.

How Many Squats Should I Do a Day?

A woman performing a goblet squat in a gym, holding a dumbbell close to her chest, wearing white leggings, a black sports bra, and black sneakers. She has red hair tied in a ponytail, and wireless earphones. In the background, there's gym equipment and another person exercising.

Squats are key for boosting lower body strength and targeting muscles like quads, hamstrings, and glutes. However, at the crossroads of starting your fitness journey or facing a plateau without visible progress, the burning question arises “How many squats should I do a day?” This guide will break down the right number of squats for each stage of your fitness path, explore the main squat variations you can use, and highlight form mistakes to avoid for the best outcomes.

How Many Squats Should I Do a Day to Get a Bigger Bum?

The number of squats you should do depends on several factors, including your fitness level, goals, and body response to exercise.

If you are a beginner, aim for 2-3 sets of 8-15 squats per session to kick-start muscle growth.

As you progress to the intermediate level, you can raise the number of sets to 4-6, with each set consisting of 6-12 repetitions.

Remember to vary your squats. Incorporate variations such as sumo squats, Bulgarian split squats and goblet squats.

This will activate diverse muscle fibers and promote balanced muscle development.

Additionally, to keep your muscles growing and getting stronger, you must gradually challenge them. This means slowly increasing the intensity of your workouts using a principle called progressive overload.

To achieve progressive overload, you can adjust any of the 3 key aspects of strength training:

1. Intensity

Here, you have two options You can either:

  • Increase the amount of weight you are lifting. This can be done by adding more weight plates to the barbell. OR
  • Perform more repetitions with the same weight. You can also increase the weight and maintain the same rep range.

2. Volume

You can adjust the volume by:

  • Increasing the number of sets you perform. For example, if you typically do 3 sets of squats, you can increase it to 4 or 5 sets.
  • You can also increase the number of repetitions per set to increase the overall volume of work done during your squat session.

3. Frequency

This is quite straightforward. It means increasing the number of times you workout. However, be careful not to overtrain, as your muscles need time to recover.

  • An example is; If you currently squat once a week, consider adding another session to your weekly routine.

Practical Application of Progressive Overload

Let’s say you have been squatting with 100 pounds for 3 sets of 8 reps once a week. To demonstrate progressive overload, you can make the following adjustments over some time:

  1. Week 1-4: Increase the weight to 110 pounds while maintaining 3 sets of 8 reps.
  2. Week 5-8: Keep the weight at 110 pounds but increase the sets to 4 while maintaining 8 reps per set.
  3. Week 9-12: Increase the weight to 120 pounds and perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
  4. Week 13-16: Add a second squat session weekly with the same weight and rep scheme.

The Main Types of Squats

Here’s a breakdown of four main types of squats and how to perform them correctly.

1. Bodyweight Squats

Bodyweight Squats, or the Basic Squat, is the simplest form of squat exercise and provides a foundation for other variations. To perform:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing slightly outward.
  • Keep your arms straight out in front of you for balance.
  • Initiate the movement by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
  • Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Ensure your chest is up and your spine is neutral.
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position.

Dr. Chris Raynor, an orthopaedic surgeon, and sports medicine specialist, demonstrates how to correctly perform a bodyweight squat.

2. Goblet Squats

The Goblet Squat is a variation of the squat that uses a dumbbell or kettlebell, facilitating focus on the correct squatting posture.

  • Stand with feet just wider than shoulder-width.
  • Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest with both hands.
  • Push your hips back and squat down, keeping the weight stable and close to your body.
  • Your elbows should come between your knees at the lowest point.
  • Drive up through your heels to the starting position, maintaining the weight at your chest.

3. Barbell Squats

Barbell Squats, a staple in strength training, engage the core and lower body muscles effectively.

  • Place a barbell across your upper back with an even grip.
  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
  • Descend by pushing your hips back and bending your knees, keeping the bar stable.
  • Go down until your hips are just below knee level.
  • Push up through the heels, keeping the bar aligned over the centre of your feet.

4. Sumo Squats

Sumo Squats target the inner thighs and glutes with a wider stance.

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing outwards.
  • Keep your arms straight down in front of you or behind your head.
  • Lower into a squat, keeping your back straight and chest up.
  • Sink until your thighs are parallel to the floor or lower.
  • Press through your heels to rise back to the starting position.

Benefits of Squats

Squats are a compound workout. They work your whole body and improve your lower body, core stability, and health. Here’s why adding squats to your routine is beneficial:

Improves Lower Body Strength and Muscle Mass

Squats primarily target your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. This compound movement is critical for building lower body strength and can enhance performance in everyday activities and sports.

A well-executed squat targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves and core muscles. This contributes to overall lower body strength.

Enhances Core Stability and Balance

While often considered a leg exercise, squats also engage your core muscles. A strong core is crucial for maintaining good posture and preventing back pain.

Squats strengthen your core and balance by activating the muscles in your tummy and back, helping you stay upright and steady. Regular squatting also improves your body awareness, teaching you about your body’s movements and positioning, which is great for balance.

For better core stability, begin with bodyweight squats for technique. Progress to Swiss ball squats for balance, then overhead weighted squats for deeper core work.

Contributes to Calorie Burn and Fat Loss

Squats are a high-intensity exercise that can accelerate calorie burning during and after your workout, supporting overall fat loss.

When you perform squats, you engage some of the largest muscles in your body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

Squats boost calorie burning in two main ways: First, they increase calorie expenditure during and after exercise through excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), with compound movements like squats having a higher caloric cost than isolated exercises.

Second, by building muscle mass, squats elevate your resting metabolic rate (RMR), meaning your body burns more calories throughout the day, even at rest, since muscle tissue requires more energy than fat tissue.

Boosts Functional Mobility and Flexibility

Regularly performing squats can improve your functional mobility.

By improving leg power and joint mobility, squats enhance your ability to perform real-world activities like lifting, bending, and walking.

Improves Bone Health

Weight-bearing exercises like squats can stimulate bone growth. This is important for maintaining bone density and preventing osteoporosis.

Squats engage multiple muscle groups which, in turn, apply beneficial stress to your bones. This stress stimulates bone formation and can improve density over time.

A 2022 study involving 370 older adults found that resistance training three times weekly for 12-52 weeks improved bone mineral density at the hip (0.64%) and spine (0.62%) but not the femoral neck (-0.22%).

This indicates that resistance training can enhance bone health in the elderly, particularly in areas prone to osteoporosis, by maintaining or slightly increasing bone density.

Builds Joint Strength

When done correctly, squats can strengthen your hip, knee, and ankle joints, offering better support and reducing the risk of injuries.

The back squat exercise is recommended for rehabilitation, especially in avoiding excessive strain on the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), making it favourable for post-injury recovery. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Doing Squats

When doing squats, watch out for common errors. You can have someone observe you or record yourself to ensure proper form.

1. Excessive Butt Wink

Excessive butt wink refers to when your pelvis tucks under your spine at the bottom of a squat.

This can place unnecessary strain on your lower back. To prevent this, maintain a neutral spine and engage your core throughout the movement.

2. Good Morning Squat

A good morning squat occurs when you lift your upper body before your hips as you rise, resembling the “good morning” exercise.

This mistake shifts the weight to your lower back instead of your legs. Make sure your chest and hips rise together, and push up through your heels.

3. Poor Breathing Techniques

Not breathing correctly during squats can reduce stability. It’s crucial to inhale deeply before going down and exhale forcefully on the way up.

Ensure you breathe into your belly, not your chest, to maintain intra-abdominal pressure.

Corrective Exercises

Incorporate these exercises into your routine to improve squat form:

  • Wall Squats: Stand with your back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart, and practice squatting while maintaining contact with the wall.
  • Goblet Squats: Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest to help maintain an upright torso and learn proper depth.
  • Hip Flexor Stretches: Tight hip flexors can hinder squat depth and form. Stretch regularly to maintain flexibility.

FAQs

What Happens If I Do 100 Squats a Day?

If you do 100 squats a day, your muscles will get stronger and have more stamina. At first, your muscles might be sore, but they will get used to it. Just make sure you’re squatting the right way to avoid getting hurt. It is advisable to do them in 2-3 sets.

How Many Squats Should You Do a Day to See Results?

Starting with 20-30 squats in a day and doing more over time can help you see changes. Try to do 2-3 sets a few days a week. This helps your muscles grow and get stronger.

Is 50 Squats a Day Too Much?

Doing 50 squats a day is okay for many people, especially if you break them up into sets. If you can do 50 squats right and it doesn’t hurt, it’s a good workout. But remember, doing them correctly is more important than how many you do.

Will 20 Squats a Day Make a Difference?

Yes, doing 20 squats a day can help, especially if you’re new to working out. It’s a good way to strengthen your legs and build your ability to do more. Starting with 20 is a great way to get into a routine.

Is 500 Squats a Day Bad?

Doing 500 squats every day is too much and could hurt you. It might cause muscle problems, injuries from doing the same thing too much, and make you exhausted. For most people, that’s too many squats. Slowly do more squats to keep getting better without bad side effects.

Is 200 Squats Too Many?

For people who are used to doing a lot of squats, 200 might be okay. But it could be too much for some. Listen to what your body tells you and slowly do more squats. Don’t forget to rest sometimes so your muscles can heal and get bigger.

The Bottomline

In conclusion, the number of squats you should do a day depends on a few things like how fit you are, your goals, and how your body reacts to exercise. If you are a beginner, aim for 2-3 sets of 8-15 squats in each workout to start muscle growth. If you’re more experienced, you can do more sets, like 4-6, with each set having 6-12 squats.

Mix up your squats by adding different kinds, like sumo squats, Bulgarian split squats, and goblet squats for balanced muscle development. Also, keep challenging your muscles by slowly making your workouts harder, a method known as progressive overload. You can achieve this by gradually increasing weight, volume, and frequency, with room for muscle recovery.

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