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Jake's Health Corner

By Jake Boly, Staff Writer

Ever wonder what is the best exercise you're not doing? The deep squat. Some of you probably saw this one coming, although it always surprises me that many people skip the squat. Why is this? Is it because it's uncomfortable? Is it too hard? Maybe you can't physically do them (yet).

If the last scenario is you, the leg press has been shown to develop leg muscles at the same rate the squat does. People assume since the leg press is so great, why don't we just leg press and leave out deep squats? Squats have a significant amount of benefits that out weigh just the development of muscle. To begin lets clarify what a squat is:

verb: Crouch or sit with knees bent and heels close to touching the buttocks or the back of thighs .

noun: A position in which knees are bent and heels are close to or touching the buttocks or back of thighs.

From the definition alone we can see a squat isn't barely bending the knees. A squat is bringing your glutes to parallel or lower. Now let's examine the benefits.

Squats increase the amount of natural growth hormones and testosterone. This not only increases strength throughout the whole body but also furthers your endeavors in achieving more muscle all around.

Flexibility and balance, squatting influences flexibility regarding your core, back, hips, and legs. With balance if you're strengthening the core and back your center of balance will become stronger.

A benefit that most people don't realize is the positive effect squatting has on running. A lot of times people assume squatting will give you huge bulky legs, in a study performed on rugby played that wasn't the case. While tracking squats and leg strength training the player's 30 meter run-time actually increased after the strength training.

So what's the proper form for a squat?

While moving under the bar keep your chest up and place the bar on your upper back muscles, just below the bone at the top of your shoulder blades. Remember to keep your head straight or a little down keeping your back and head align. Grip the bar while tightening your upper back and keeping your elbows back. Your toes should be pushed out from 30 to 45 degrees, that is preference I've found.

Now performing the squat.

1. Your hips should be back as if going butt-first to sit on a chair.

2. Knees over toes, I can't stress enough the importance of the movement in keeping your knees over your toes.

3. Beware when you drop down to parallel or below, you don't knock your knees together or totally buckle them out as you rise up from the squat position.

4. Lastly, keep the weight on your heels and drive up keeping your hips and back aligned with one motion. One should not rise faster than the other.

I hope this article has shown you how deep squats should be added into any exercise regime due to the massive amounts of benefits. Check me out next week when I talk about the ideal amount of exercise the body should receive and benefits best at. For now, I'll be deep squatting.

TNL hit and miss

Letter to the Editor (Oct. 27)