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Squats Exercise

Essential Exercise

Squats have been called "The king of leg exercises" - and rightfully so! To get the most out of your squats, you have to perform them with proper procedure.

If you now, or eventually, want more of a challenge...

Cycling Application: Increased power to pedal stroke and increased strength for the lower back.

Muscles worked with squats: Thighs, buttocks and lower back; Hips extensors, spinal erectors, quadriceps and gluteals.

Practice Proper Form

  1. Keep feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Shift your body weight to your heels, not your toes.
  3. Bend your knees but do not allow them to bend to an angle less than 90 degrees.
  4. Keep your back straight and your weight in your heels.

How to perform The Squat Exercise:

  1. Preparation: From a resting-place atop a squat rack, place barbell on upper back muscles (trapezius). Stand up, step back one or two steps. If using heavy weights you should have a spotter or have pins placed in the rack that will catch the weight if you loose your balance.
  2. Description: Slowly bend ankles, knees, and hips to lower body until thighs are parallel to the floor. Do not lean forward excessively. Keep fleet flat on floor and if you have poor flexibility in your Achilles tendon which causes your heal to come off the ground use a thin board under heels to help keep your balance. Straighten legs and return to starting position.

Squats Exercise

Wall Squats

  1. Stand 12 to 18 inches from a wall; lean against it and slowly bend knees until thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold 20 to 30 seconds (longer as it gets easier), then slowly raise; repeat three times.

Wall Squat Exercise

Remember: Go Low!

People who focus on nailing range of motion during squats and lunges - which means a 90-degree bend in the knees - became stronger and lost an average of 15 percent more fat than those who added extra weight but shortened the movement. There was a metabolism benefit, too. Those who got to 90-degrees retained more lean muscle mass after a month-long hiatus. Source: Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

Did You Know?

17,000 Trainers Must be Right! In a nationwide survey of 17,000 certified trainers (including yours-truly) conducted by the American Council on Exercise, the squat was voted the overwhelming favorite exercise because it strengthens all of the major muscles of the lower body. Other top trainer choices for a well-rounded fitness program include abdominal exercises, yoga, running, lunges, walking and push-ups.

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