I hate squats. No, I take that back. I don’t hate squats, I hate the extreme soreness they bring on. I don’t even mind being sore from a good workout, but for some reason, squats (with additional weights and sometimes without) leave my butt, hips and legs so sore that I can barely move. If I have to use a handrail to go pee for FOUR DAYS, then I’m too sore. And I’m annoyed.
So, I decided to do some research. Are squats worth it? Do they really work? Is this soreness normal? The answer to all of these questions is YES. Here’s what I learned:
- Squats work the whole body, most importantly your core and back. Huh. It’s true, I do feel sore in my lower back and core, but I had no idea!
- Squats burn fat. Fast. They build muscle quickly, and muscle burns fat. For every pound of muscle you gain, you burn 50-70 more calories per day.
- Squats work the hip and stabilizing muscles/ligaments/tendons in your legs. And as we mentioned before, you need to have equilibrium to avoid overcompensation, which leads to injury-ville.
- They lift the butt. And at my age, I’ll just add this to my self-talk arsenal.
Soreness is absolutely normal, but excessive soreness can hinder your running and lead to injury. If you find yourself sore for more than a day, you can try an “active recovery” workout. From what I’ve read, you simply cut your workout in half. So, if you did reps of 20 with 20 pounds of weight, then you’d do reps of 10 with 10 pounds, or do an easy 2-mile run. Remember, you are recovering so take it easy.
Bottom line, squats and lunges are a runner’s best friend. If they are making you sore for more than a few days, then take some weights off the bar next time, you’ll still reap the benefits. Like we always say: evaluate, learn, apply! — Amie