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Friday, May 29, 2009

Exercise of the Week: Squats

If any of you have worked out with me, you know that we do a lot of squats. You may be wondering why we do so many. Well, squats are one of the best exercises that you can do. In fact, many call the squat the "King of all exercises"!

Squats utilize a variety of muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, abdominals, and the lower back. Yep, all of those muscle groups in one exercise. Squats are great for building strength and power in the legs as well as toning the back side. Squats also help strengthen the muscles around the joints, helping to prevent injury. Finally, doing a series of squats can get your heart rate up and thus torch calories!

As with any strength training exercise, proper form is key to receive maximum benefit as well as to prevent injuries. There are many forms of squats, so we will start with the basic squat.

Basic Squat

  • Stand with legs shoulder width apart, arms extended out in front

  • Bend your knees and squat as if sitting in a chair, sinking your weight into your heels

  • Make sure to keep your ab muscles tight as this protects your lower back

  • Do not let your knees extent passed your toes

  • Push up through your heels and return to the starting position

Repeat this exercise for 10-20 repetitions and 1-3 sets.

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