Squats and lunges are two of the most well known leg exercises. Yet many people, left to their own devices, will skip them. Why? Because they’re hard. They require a lot of effort, but that’s also why they are so important.
Bonus Benefits of Lower Body Exercises
- Great Abs. Squats work your core harder than many ab exercises do.
- Stronger Back. In a study of lifters who did both upper- and lower-body exercises, Norwegian scientists found that those who emphasized lower-body movements such as the squat and lunge gained the most upper-body strength.
- Better Balance. Leg exercises strengthen ligaments and tendons within the legs. This means more knee stability and a lower likelihood of injury.
(Taken from The Men’s Health Big Book of Exercises, Adam Campbell)
Squats are one of the most important exercises in any exercise routine. Not only will they help you maintain the ability to get off of the toilet as you get older, they also burn more calories per rep than almost any exercise. They activate almost every muscle in your lower body as well as your core! While many people can not, or should not, perform barbell squats, almost everyone can perform squats on some level. For example, if you are not able to perform a proper free-standing bodyweight squat, try a stability ball wall squat instead.
Stability Ball Wall Squat
To perform a proper squat, keep your weight in your heels and push your hips back. Always lead with your hips, knees follow, and keep your core tight, with no arch in your back.
Lunges are also a great exercise, targeting almost every muscle in your lower body and training balance. While lunges are not for everyone, many people will be able to perform some modification of the lunge.
The TRX Back Lunge is a great beginner’s lunge because the TRX helps with stability and allows you to focus on form without fear of falling.
In a proper lunge, both knees are bent to 90 degrees and the leading knee is straight above the ankle.
Get in the gym, and start doing squats and lunges! But first, consult with a certified trainer to assure the correct form. Loggerhead Fitness offers a wide array of personal trainers to meet your needs. Contact the front desk today.