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Pack on Leg Power and Transform your Body

Sandra Prior
Aug 8, 2008
A young man once told me that squats hurt his knees. So I asked him to demonstrate a squat. He tucked his head into his chest like a tortoise, brought his knees towards each other, and bowed forwards. I told him, 'Squats don't hurt your knees; what you're doing hurts your knees'.

As a champion bodybuilder and someone whose been doing this exercise since before most of you could walk, I've heard all the arguments against squats, such as how they're bad for your knees and back. And I've seen many men prove those accusations right by butchering the move.

A properly executed squat may be a more effective muscle builder than all other exercises combined, demanding the synchronized movement of muscle fibers throughout the body. Because squatting is one of the most natural human movements - like walking or using the remote - it's perfectly safe. New research shows that squats burn up to three times as many kilojoules as previously thought, so it's a powerful fat burning tool too.

Ready to carve rock solid muscle and harness whole body strength and athleticism? Use the plan that follows. It's simple and it works.

Squat with your Elbows

First, do three consecutive vertical jumps, then look down. This is roughly where you should place your feet every time you squat. Set your feet and bend your hips and knees to lower your body as far as you can. Then, when you're in your deepest position, push your knees out with your elbows. Try to keep your feet flat on the floor and allow your butt to sink below knee height.

Relax in this position for two or three seconds, then descend a bit deeper and drive your knees out with your elbows once more. For most men, this small elbow maneuver will simplify squatting forever, because it makes you drop your torso between your thighs rather than fold at the waist. Stand up and move on to the next step below.

Do the Doorbell Drill

You may think of the squat as a lower body exercise but upper body alignment is essential. Perfect your posture with this drill. Stand at arms length from a doorknob and grab the handle with both hands. Set your feet as you did in step one. Now imagine you're walking into a bar full of swimsuit models. Your natural reaction will be to lift and puff out your chest, which in turn will tighten your lower back. Your latissimi dorsi muscles will spread a bit and your shoulders will move back slightly. Maintain this tautness throughout the squat. Now, holding the doorknob and keeping your chest up and arms straight, bend your hips and knees to lower your body, leaning back in the process. Stand up. By keeping your chest, shoulders and core muscles tight, you distribute weight more evenly throughout your body. As a result, you'll be able to handle greater loads with less risk of injury.

The Goblet Squat

Named after the way you hold the weight - in front of your chest, with your hands cupped - the goblet squat may be the only squat you need in your workout.

Start with a light dumbbell, between 10 and 20kg, and hold it vertically from one end. Hug it tight against your chest. With your elbows pointing down, lower your body into a squat. Allow your elbows to push past the insides of your knees as you descend. It's okay to push your knees out. Return to a standing position. Your upper body will hardly move if you're using your legs, hips and lower back as a unit.

Don't worry if you don't do it perfectly the first time. Just let your elbows glide down by rubbing past your knees and good things will happen.
About the Author
Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu.
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