Excerpts from Tony Horton's first book Bring It!
My Best Lower Body Move
Oh—I should mention here that as much as I like pushups, I also like squats. Years ago, I would do squats in just about every leg workout, but then I got bored with them. My waning desire to squat was an indication that my training was getting stale, and this lack of motivation translated into less-effective workouts for other muscle groups, too. Since this is the case, I knew I couldn't expect much to happen in the gains department. A change was in order! I started experimenting with different variations on the squat. What you'll learn here is how to do not only regular squats but also a dozen other versions, which appear in this chapter and Chapter 8.
MY BEST LOWER BODY MOVE
"The squat in all its different variations is perhaps the most effective resistance-training exercise for total-body development."
One of these versions—a one-legged squat—has been shown in research to be the very best exercise for your glutes, the muscles that give shape to your buttocks. In a study at San Diego State University, researchers studied 31 women, ages 19 to 41, who performed 10 of the most commonly prescribed butt-bettering exercises while wired to a machine that measured muscle activity. The one-footed squat surpassed all the other exercises in effectiveness. Because you place all of your body weight on one foot, the muscles of just one side lift your entire body. This is also an excellent balance and strengthening exercise. (Beginners may want to lightly hold on to a secure object for balance while performing it.)
The squat in all its different variations is perhaps the most effective resistance-training exercise for total-body development. It may look as if your legs are doing all of the work, but it takes a stable trunk and strong upper body to provide a foundation on which your legs can produce force.
No matter what form the squat takes, many different muscles are forced to work together. The squat involves nearly all the muscles in your thighs, your calves (for balance), and your back muscles (to keep you upright). In fact, the squat targets more than 250 muscles! This muscle orchestra also generates a serious release of muscle-growing hormones that flood your entire body. And that means muscle tone and development, plus fat burning and accelerated results.
Although the majority of my squats involve the use of your body weight only, other types of equipment can be used to boost your intensity. For example, dumbbells can be used in most cases by holding them at your sides or atop your shoulders to add the desired resistance. Resistance bands can also be effective because they allow for a little more control than their dumbbell counterpart.
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