Do squats make your legs bigger?
Squats make your legs more toned but not bigger. Let me explain why.
Let’s clean up with the rumours… When you perform squats, you can potentially add more muscle in your thighs and butt. The main muscles targeted are the quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. The quads run down the front of the thighs, the hamstrings sit on the back of the thighs and the glutes make up the butt. The muscles of your spine and abdominals will be activated to help stabilize your body throughout the movement.
But how much will the muscles grow? This totally depends on the following…
- YOUR GENDER: Women tend to build muscle more slowly than men, since they don’t have the same amount of testosterone, a hormone that helps turn protein into muscle.
- YOUR GENES: Your body type can also affect the rate at which your legs get smaller or bigger in relation to training. If you’re a mesomorph, you have the body type that tends to gain muscle quickly. The naturally slim body type of ectomorphs doesn’t respond as quickly to muscle training. The third body type, the endomorph, is generally rounder with more body fat. That person may be able to gain muscle, but it’s generally necessary to lose body fat for it to appear noticeable.
- YOUR WEIGHT LOAD: If you perform strength training, you put your muscles under an additional stress or load which makes the muscle size increase. Doing squats with just your own body weight will help you build muscle, but when you add weights, you have the potential to add even more muscle.
- YOUR DIET: If you don’t eat (and sleep) enough, your body won’t be able to build muscle so your legs won’t be able to tone up. If you are eating too much, your legs will look big anyways and even bigger because you build up muscle under the fat layer and that will make your legs look bigger eventually.
So let’s get back to the confusion part. Do squats make your legs bigger? Yes, especially if you are a man with a mesomorph body type and if you eat and rest properly. Yes, if you are a woman with an endomorph body type and you don’t eat a balanced diet and don’t do cardio. The bottom line is you may be squatting the same amount of weight as a friend who weighs the same, but not get the same results for the reasons mentioned above.
I suggest for every body type to eat healthily and combine squats with aerobic activities in order to become fit and lean!