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Biceps, triceps but weak legs? How squats can help you strengthen legs

In today’s body-building culture, most people have lovely biceps, triceps and chest but legs like matchsticks. This is where the body balance goes off. The lower body is primarily responsible for getting you anchored as a human being, where the core and confidence come together. If the core is weak, you must know the lower body will be weak as well because that is what supports your entire musculoskeletal frame.

The best exercises for the lower body in my opinion are lunges or dynamic lunges that follow the forward-backward rhythm. Five counts at a time, ten counts at a time. But squats are effective for the lower body as they aid in mobility and balance. Not only do they strengthen the legs, they also work out your core, stabilising muscles. These keep your body balanced, while at the same time helping to improve how you communicate with your brain and muscle groups that assist in preventing falls. Don’t bust your knees, so don’t do more than four or five counts at a time.

How to do a normal squat

Keep your back straight. Avoid slouching your back when you’re lowering yourself or coming back up. A rounded back under weight can injure the spine at its upper or lower ends.

1) Track your knees over your toes. Keep your knees from going past the tips of the toes. This is generally not good for the knee joints.

2) Plant your feet. Keep your heels planted firmly on the ground and the knees lined up with the feet and not splayed in or out.

3) Look straight ahead. Try not to look down. Be aware that your back and butt are in the correct position, with your back straight and butt extended.

How to do a Sumo squat

Also known as the Sumo stance, because of the wide foot placement, wide-stance squats activate the muscles of the inside of the thigh such as the gracilis and adductor magnus.

1) Position your legs wider than shoulder-width with your toes pointed slightly out at 30 degrees.

2) Brace your core by inhaling and engaging your core as if you expect to be punched.

3) Hinge your hips back and bend your knees, pushing them out in line with your feet.

4) Lower until your thighs are at least parallel with the floor.

The horse stance of martial arts, which in Japanese is called Kiba Dachi, where the feet are at 90 degrees, is also very good.

How to do Split Squats

Split squats (also called Bulgarian split squats) can be a great way to switch up the standard horizontal stance. It’s an excellent unilateral exercise and is a great alternative for anyone who experiences knee pain with back squats.

1)Stand in front of a bench and carefully place your right foot on top of it. Bend your left knee and drop your right knee. Your weight should be on your front left foot. Lower until your front thigh is at least parallel to the floor.

2) Push through your front foot to raise yourself up, but do not lock out your knee.

3) Repeat for desired reps, then switch sides.

How to squat and lunge

The stability it takes to combine these two moves means extra credit for your core and a chance to work more of your butt muscles at once.

1) Stand with hands clasped in front of the chest and feet under shoulders. Bend knees and sink hips to lower down into a squat, then press through the heels to return to the standing position.

2) Take a large step forward with your left foot and bend at both knees to lower your body until both legs form 90-degree angles.

3) Return to start.

4) That’s one rep. Perform 10 on each side, then continue on to your next move, resting as needed. After you’ve finished all of your exercises (three total), repeat the entire workout twice more for a total of three rounds.

How to do Assisted Bilateral Bodyweight squats?

Beginners can benefit from regressing exercises, so the load is decreased and the focus is on grooving the movement pattern. Moving against lighter loads gives your muscles a chance to acclimatise to the demands of the movement.

1)Hold on to a door, table, or TRX ropes if you are at the gym.

2) Lower yourself down to the floor at a slow tempo.

3) Stop whenever your form breaks or when your hamstrings come into contact with the calves. Stand up.

How to do the Single leg Squat (Pistol)

Single-leg squats are an advanced exercise that requires strength and balance, though you can also use various props to assist you with balance, such as a suspension trainer, chair, or rack.

1) Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

2) Raise one foot off the ground and extend your leg in front of you.

3) Raise your arms in front of you for counterbalance.

4) Slowly lower your squat by hinging your hips back and bending your front knee.

5) Continue lowering until your thigh is parallel to the floor.

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6) Rise by pushing through your standing foot and straightening your leg.

These exercises eventually will make you strong in your legs and give you body confidence.

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(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, his latest book is called ‘Weightless.’ He has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India)

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