Q. Glen, How can I get Shapelier Legs ?
A.There is one exercise that most people avoid like the plague -- the squat. However, if you're seeking tight, shapely legs then there is no other leg exercise on the planet that is as effective. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it burn? Yes. Does it give you fabulous legs? Definitely!
As in most cases in life, the most difficult endeavors always yield the greatest rewards. Performing the squat does not mean you'll have legs that burst the seams of your clothes. Yes, you can achieve bodybuilder-type legs if that's your goal, but you can also develop legs that are lean and tight.
It's dependent upon execution, frequency, weight, repetitions and intensity. People who choose not to perform the squat always tell me they don't want "big legs" or a "big butt." Unfortunately, they don't know the mechanics and method of manipulation for this marvelous exercise. The squat does not discriminate by gender -- it's the perfect lower-body exercise for both men and women.
The primary muscles worked during squats are the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the leg), hips, gluteus (butt) and lower back. Secondary muscles used are the abdominals and practically every muscle in your lower body. So if you want great legs and a great butt, you must practice the squat.
Beginners -- Begin by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart or slightly closer than shoulder-width. Practice the movement with no weight and your hands on your hips, or place a broomstick across your shoulders. Be sure the broomstick is not resting on your neck. It must be positioned on the upper part of the back. You should also place a chair behind you for safety. Beginners should attempt two sets of 15 repetitions on three alternate days of the week.
Those with Experience -- Stand facing a squat rack with barbell upper chest height, walk under the bar and position it on the most upper part of the back and grasp barbell to sides. Space hands evenly on the barbell, shoulder-width (or wider, if comfortable) apart. Dismount bar from rack and take a step backward.
2. Execution/Descending Phase
3. Execution/Ascending Phase
Common Mistakes to Avoid
1. Stopping your descent phase before thighs are parallel to the ground.
2. Not keeping your head up and eyes forward.
3. Allowing the knees to extend in front of toes.
4. Keeping your back too vertical and not flat or slightly arched.
5. Locking your knees at the top part of the movement.
6. Holding your breath.
7. Using excessive weight.
8. Performing a squat with an injured lower back.
9. Not perfecting form and technique.
10. Descending lower than parallel.
During my personal-training experience, I have found that women respond well to higher repetition ranges (15-20) and men tend to get best response in a repetition range of 8-15. This is one of the few exercises that I recommend in higher rep ranges. Whatever your goal is, squats will give you sensational-looking legs.
Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program. Please consult your physician !
Yours in good health