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what is a squat?

Squat

According to Wikipedia, a traditional squat is "a lower body exercise used in strength training. The main emphasis of the exercise is on the quadriceps and the glutes, but it also involves the hamstrings, the calves, and the lower back. The squat has the potential for bigger and faster muscle growth than many other exercises."

There are several variations of the squat, many of which utilize a barbell or dumbbells to increase the difficulty and effectiveness of the exercise. For the sake of the two hundred squats challenge, we're going to skip the extra resistance and just go with a basic leg squat.

Instructions for "good-form" squats

1. Stand up straight with your feet firmly planted on the ground approximately shoulder width apart. To help maintain a straight back as you perform the exercise, it's a good idea to focus on an object directly ahead of you at eye level.

2. Contract your abdominal muscles as you bend your legs at the knees. Either stretch your arms out ahead of you, lightly position your hands behind your ears or hold your arms at your side as you slowly lower yourself into a squatting position. Lower your body to a position where your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat.

Important: Proper technique is critical, otherwise serious injuries or gradual injury over a period of time can occur. The back must maintain its natural curvature and not "round out" otherwise excess strain can be placed on the spine and cause serious injury.

Also, to avoid undue stress on the knee joint, do not allow your buttocks to drop lower than your knees as you lower your body towards the ground.

Remember, the main aim of the two hundred squats program is to improve your leg strength, fitness and general health. The program is all about making progress and constantly challenging yourself. Give the 6-week program a chance and you'll be amazed at your new found strength. Good luck!

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