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Squat Your Way to Strength

images (1)Squats may seem like a really basic, simple exercise, but sometimes there is a very good reason why the basics work the best. Squats engage pretty much every muscle in your legs, bottom, stomach and back, and that leads to strength in some really important places. A strong core and lower body is fundamental for getting the most out of all sorts of workouts. Build strength in these areas and your whole body will benefit.

 

Full Squats

Stand with your hips shoulder-width apart and hold your stomach in tight. With your back as straight as possible, squat down, holding your arms straight out in front of you for balance. As opposed to a regular squat, where you stop with your behind in a sitting position about knee high, in a full squat you keep squatting down until your behind is hovering just a few inches off the floor. This is also described as “sitting on your calves.” Straighten up to your starting position and repeat 10 times. This deep squat can be rough for people with bad knees.

 

Inner Thigh Squats

An inner thigh squat differs from a regular squat because the feet are hip-distance apart but the toes are pointed to the outside so the legs are turned out. When you squat in this position you’ll feel the burn in your inner thighs. Squat down, careful to keep your back straight, and stop when you behind is parallel with your knees. Straighten up and repeat 10 times.

 

Jump Squats

With jump squats, you use the strength of your thighs to launch yourself off the floor, which strengthens those muscles greatly. Hold your stomach tight with your feet hip-distance apart. Place your hands behind your head and lace your fingers together. Squat down, stopping at the knee height of a regular squat. Then, instead of standing back up, push off your feet and jump into the air and then land safely. Repeat this 10 times. This squat is also hard on the knees and you should master other squats before trying these.

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