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Health and Fitness: Squats: the spinach of lifts

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By Kent Pegg

We all have a love-hate relationship with squats, the so-called “king” of all exercises.

But by understanding the mechanics and benefits of the squat, you can increase your attraction to this exercise and enhance its value in your routine.

When performed correctly, squats build the body’s power muscles of the lower back, hips, buttocks and thighs. Being an exercise with a large range of motion, the squat stretches each area worked and then requires a hard contraction of the muscle spindles to perform the lift.

More than any other exercise, the squat maximizes strength development while minimizing joint stress.

Despite their relative safety, as with all compound exercises, form is critical to prevent injury while performing squats. Consult with a fitness professional if you have any questions before performing squats.

There are three segments to executing the squat: the ready position, the descent and the ascent.

In the ready position, the bar is placed across the shoulders. The load of the weight is distributed across the mass of the upper back and not on the top of the shoulders.


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