Fort Myers, Fla. -- Hands down, squats are one of the best exercises you can do, and few exercises work as many muscles as the squat. According to fitness expert, Mike Drumm at Fitness on the Move Lifestyle Center, squats target all the lower body muscles and build strength in your lower back, abdominals, and core muscles.
Aside from building stronger muscles, there are many other benefits to including squats in your fitness routine. Squats activate all of the muscles throughout your body. There is no single exercise that works every part of your body like a squat, and has real life applications. Drumm explains that strong legs are crucial for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are phenomenal for increasing leg strength, helping to prevent falls.
So, how do you do the perfect squat? 1) Stand with your head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Place your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, head facing forward and your chest held up and out. Extend your hands straight out in front of you to help keep your balance. 2) Sit back and down like you're sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your head facing forward and push your hips back (don't drop your head). More importantly, don't allow your back to round, instead keep that chest up and let your lower back arch slightly as you descend. 3) Lower down slowly until your thighs are near or below parallel to the floor, with your knees staying above your feet. Press your weight back into your heels. 4)Keep your body tight, your abs flexed, and push through your heels as you exhale and bring yourself back to the starting position. Remember, don't "lock" out your legs.
Start with three sets of 10 squats, and then add more reps as you get used to the motion. Focus on your form, and then worry about adding reps.