Yes, squats DO work your abs.
Here’s the catch – although they’ll develop your core strength, squatting alone won’t get you ripped.
Let’s learn a little more about how squats work your abs, and what else you need to do to get that sculpted figure you’ve been dreaming of.
What Muscles Make Up The Abs?
Despite what you may have heard, abs are made up of more than just the “six-pack”, aka the six muscles that make up the rectus abdominis.
There are also internal and external obliques on both sides of the waist, and the serratus anterior or “inner abs”.
Every muscle group that makes up the abs is responsible for different functions, and angles of motion.
The squat is just one exercise that can activate all of the muscles in three different capacities: isometric, eccentric, and concentric.
Do Squats Work For Abs?
When you squat, a number of muscles work together to keep your body upright. These muscles are the extensor muscles, lateral muscles, straight abdominal muscles, and lower back muscles.
Squats are a great exercise to help you strengthen your abs, shed weight, and get a flat or toned stomach.
When you squat, your core is engaged with the entire movement. Your core is made up of the whole spinal column, and these muscles help stabilize the whole of your body.
This is why keeping your abs engaged when you squat will help you perform the movement, and strengthen and develop your abs at the same time.
The most important core muscles activated during the squat include:
- Transversus Abdominis: These are the deepest muscles in the abdomen, and they help compress and stabilize your organs. This is the main purpose of abs: they may look pretty good, but they also protect your inside and pull them toward the spine to keep us standing upright.
- Rectus Abdominis: These are the superficial “6-pack” muscles we usually think of when we think of abs. These muscles help flex our bodies forward.
- Obliques: The obliques sit below the rectus abdominis, and these are another form of visible ab muscle. Obliques help us to laterally flex and rotate, and they’re not just critical in sports, but also in everyday activities. The obliques can also help us with posture and balance, and you’ll improve these when you build your abs.
It’s this engagement, plus the calorie and fat-burning aspect of squats that make them so great for developing sculpted abs!
When you’re done squatting, you may feel extra tension and tiredness in your abs.
This is because your abs and your core and up against consistent tension when you’re squatting; moving from an upright position to a squat will build tension in the lower and upper body to keep you balanced, and it’s this tension that works your abs, and can even be an effective replacement for a dedicated ab workout.
How To Squat (The Right Way)
If you’re ready to nail the move and build your abs, you’ll need to learn to squat – the right way. Getting the right technique is essential for working out your abdominal muscles.
So, get ready to drop it like it’s hot because we’re here to walk you through the ultimate squat technique.
What’s the first thing we do before we work out? Warm-up!
Your hip mobility is one of the most important factors in a squat, so focus on working the legs, glutes, and hips before you go into a squat.
There are plenty of squat-appropriate warm-ups you can do, however, we’d recommend getting on your hands and knees and rocking to and from, and side to side.
When you do this, you’ll feel your back and hips start to stretch. Do this for at least five minutes to get your body prepared for the ultimate squat sesh.
- Start off standing with your feet a hips-width apart. Ensure your knees are positioned over your toes, and no further past them. Keep your toes facing the front.
- Move your hips back by bending at the ankles and knees, and press your knees slightly open.
- Move down into a sitting squat position, while keeping your heels and toes on the ground.
- Your chest should be raised and your shoulders pointing back. Eventually, you should be able to bend your knees at a 90-degree angle, but this may take a bit of practice.
- Press your weight down into your heels, and slowly move back to a standing position with straightened legs.
Remember: when you squat, you’ll need to use your legs, NOT your back. Learning to do this will help you perform better and reduce injury.
How To Build Abs
Although squats are great for working out the abs, don’t expect them to develop your abdominal size on their own.
Your core strength will certainly improve, but you’ll need to perform additional exercises with a greater range of motion to build that solid six-pack you’ve been dreaming of.
If you’re stuck for inspiration, these epic ab exercises can be great additions to your routine:
Swiss Ball Crunch
The swiss ball crunch is one of the most popular ab exercises, and many people believe they’re essential for abdominal development.
With the swiss ball crunch, you can target the upper abs, and by using the ball, you’ll stretch your abdominals with a greater range of motion.
- Sit on the edge of your exercise ball. Slowly lie back with your abs stretched over the ball.
- Start crunching your upper abs by keeping your ribs down to your pelvis.
- When you’re crunched, squeeze your abs, release, and then lower yourself back over the ball.
Hanging Leg Raise
The hanging leg raise is a staple for many exercise buffs. Here’s how to do it:
- Hang yourself from a bar, ensuring your feet don’t touch the ground.
- Raise your legs as high as you can, and control them when you lower them. If you have control, your legs shouldn’t swing when you release them.
The Bottom Line
Squats are a great way to work out your abs and build some impressive core strength. However, you’ll need to pair them with other high-intensity exercises to sculpt your body.
With practice and the right form, squats can be a great addition to your workout routine!