Do Squats Make Your Thighs Bigger? 11 Questions About Squats Answered

At New Generation Fitness, we get lots of questions about exercising, supplements, and many other things related to fitness. Along the way, we’ve been asked a lot of questions about squats.

While it might not be everyone’s favorite exercise, it’s definitely a beneficial one. But do squats make your thighs grow? You’re about to find the surprising answers to this and other questions about squats.

1. What is a squat?

A squat is an exercise you perform by literally squatting down and pushing your body back to a standing position. Some people enjoy the exercise they get from a normal squat. However, to get the most benefits from this exercise, most people perform squats with weighted barbells.

But these previously two methods are far from the only ways you can begin squatting. There are several types of squatting methods.

If you’re new to squats, I recommend starting out by only squatting your body weight. In a few weeks time, or when you feel ready, you can start with a single or light set of dumbbells.

In time, you should start noticing that you’re able to either do more squats with these dumbbells. Or you’ll start being able to squat with more weight. When you get more comfortable squatting dumbbells, you can practice when a barbell (EZ or standard is up to you).

Give yourself a few months to get comfortable with squatting and you’ll be doing squats with a barbell in no time.

2. What are squats good for?

squats in the gym

This is definitely one of the most common questions I get about squats. What makes squats worth doing? The answer to this comes down to understanding compound lifts. Compound lifts are ones that work most or all of the body.

If you’re someone who is lifting weights to gain muscle, you want lots of compound lifts in your routine. This is because they work the most amount of muscles possible, a key to gaining muscle fast. As with any kind of exercise that gets you moving, squatting is also a good way to lose body fat.

Let’s say that you wanted to get a stronger chest. What’s one of the first exercises you would want to do? The bench press, of course. Why? Because it’s proven to be an effective compound lift for increasing the size and strength of your chest muscles.

3. What Muscles Do Squats Strengthen?

a man performing squats

When it comes to squats, they workout quite a few of your muscles. According to Healthline, here are the muscles that get a workout when you perform squats:

  • Glutes
  • Calves
  • Hamstrings
  • Abs

So, ditch the “as seen on TV” ab product and start doing squats. Trust me, you’ll see much faster and better results.

Squats make your legs bigger. Plus, squatting also builds strength and size in your glute muscles (your gluteal muscles is a fancy way of saying butt cheeks). We’ve spent a lot of time talking about how squats work to strengthen your lower body.

However, it’s just as important to mention that squats are also great for adding muscle mass to your upper body. Over time, squats will build more muscle mass throughout your upper body. This is especially true for your back and shoulders.

4. Do squats strengthen your knees?

man squatting with barbell

Yes, if you’re doing them correctly. You might have been asking this same question in your head because you’ve heard squats are bad for your knees. Fortunately, that’s not true. It’s just that so many people do them incorrectly, this misconception gets spread around fast.

As strange as might seem, squats are actually a great exercise to add to your regimen. Over time, if done properly, squatting will strengthen your knee muscles. This is because it follows a core principle of strength training any muscle, which is:

  • Learn the exercise
  • Slowly start adding weights
  • The muscles develop and get stronger

So, how do you make sure that squats are strengthening your knees? By making sure that you’re standing at the right angle.

For more help gaining strength in the gym, don’t miss this list of the top testosterone boosters.

5. Do squats make your thighs larger?

a person squatting with a kettleballSo, do they? Yes, in most cases, they will. This is because squats naturally make the leg muscles grow, especially the thighs. With that said, it’s essential to note that your thighs are also gaining more muscle. So, even if your legs do get bigger, they’re not going to appear fat when you’re doing lots of squats.

If you are looking for a good way to gain more muscle, I’d recommend checking out my picks for the best bulking stacks.

6. How many calories do squats burn?

When looking for an answer to this question, you’re going to come across a lot of resources. With that said, we did find out about how many calories squats burn. A single squat will burn about 0.32 calories. So, doing about 100 squats will help you burn about 32 calories.

I don’t want to discourage but 100 squats is more of a long-term goal than a short-term one, especially if you’re doing weighted squats. Whether you’re doing non-weighted or weighted squats, also make sure you’re always utilizing proper form.

To get even better results from squats, check out this list of top workout supplements for beginners.

7. Do squats make you shorter?

do squats make your thighs bigger

Nope. Fortunately, this myth about squats is fairly simple to debunk. In 1960s Japan, researchers wanted to know what was making children in this country smaller in height than others. The researchers noticed that these children were performing lots of labor, basically squatting and lifting heavy amounts of goods during their work. After seeing this, researchers concluded the children’s shorter stature was due to the work they performed.

A Myth Debunked

But, not so fast.

As time went on, other researchers went over this study and found that it wasn’t lifting heavy amounts of weight that caused these children to grow up shorter. Unfortunately (and sadly), it was poor nutrition and being generally underfed that led to this height issue.

8. Should Performing Squats Hurt?

Besides the normal sore muscles you get after working out, squats should NOT hurt. Strength training exercises should push you, but they should never cause pain. In most cases, people who feel pain as they’re squatting are doing something wrong.

One of the most common reasons why squats cause back pain has to do with a lack of proper form. Seeing someone show you how squats work is easy. Doing them properly can be a little trickier.

When I was first learning how to do body weight squats, I would do either film myself doing them or have someone else watch me squat. Filming yourself resistance training lets you see if you’re making mistakes. After all, you can’t watch yourself squat.

You can also have someone else watch how you’re squatting to see if you’re doing it right. While this second opinion doesn’t necessarily have to come form a personal trainer or bodybuilder, make sure the person at least knows a thing or two about how to squat properly.

9. Will Squats Make My Butt Bigger?

Also, yes. But, don’t worry, squats won’t give you a ridiculously large gluteus maximus. However, squats will cause you to gain muscle throughout this part of the body. If you don’t want to increase muscle mass in this area, you might not want to start squatting.

10. How Do I Get the Best Results From Squats?

a group of people squatting

The main goal of squats is to build muscle throughout your body. However, you might not currently be happy with how much muscle tissue you’re gaining from squats. If that’s the case, check out these tips to help you get the best results.

Keep a close eye on your calorie intake – There are many free apps that make this super easy to do. Chances are, you’re not consuming enough calories per day. Increase your calories by 100 each day and you should start seeing an increase in weight.

Get liquid calories – Another reason you’re not gaining muscle is because you find it hard to eat lots of meals throughout the day. I get it, this is something I still struggle with. Fortunately, the best way to avoid not gaining muscle is by consuming more calories in liquid form. Protein shakes, milk shakes, chocolate milk, whatever it takes to help you consume more calories throughout a typical day.

Mix up the types of squats you do – You learned how well squats work at making your legs bigger and can help build muscle throughout the rest of your body. With that said, your muscles will eventually get used to the types of strength training that always taking place. If you want to build as much muscle with squats, try different variations of this exercise regularly.

Go eat – Seriously, go have a snack. But come back and keep reading, I’ve got more tips for you!

11. Can Squats Help Me Lose Weight?

barbell squats

Not on their own. Unless you’re endurance squatting, which takes lots of time to build up that type of strength, squats won’t help you lose weight. However, squats can help you burn fat when this exercise is part of a more complete strength training program.

It all comes down to your body composition. For instance, someone who has little body fat and started squatting would develop larger, muscular legs. However, a person with more body fat might end up training and develop smaller thighs as the muscle layers get thicker and the layers of fat get thinner.

There you have it, several questions about squats answered.

This often misunderstood exercise is incredibly beneficial, so long as you know what you’re doing and use proper form! If you want to learn about supplements, here are five of the best workout supplements for beginners.