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Importance of Squats

As much as I hate to admit this, it’s been roughly 1 year since I added a proper legs routine to my workout. So last week I started my comeback by doing leg curls and squats (using the squat rack). I was tempted to use the Smith machine, but I stayed away from it because using the barbell gives you a little bit more natural motion and it works out your stabilizer muscles (that’s the case with any free weights vs. machines argument).

Squats are a great way to lose weight and pack muscle because they work out such a huge portion of your body. In retrospect, I was very stupid for ignoring them and can’t even tell you why I ignored them for so long (I thought my running was enough of a “legs workout.”)

A few years ago I used to be able to do squats with two 45-lb. plates on each side. This time around I started with the 45-lb. barbell only. The reason? I want to make sure my form is perfect. Otherwise you’re not going to reap the benefits. A good rule of thumb is to keep your head up while doing squats and pretend there’s an invisible chair behind you and you’re trying to touch the chair with your butt.

I ended up doing 2 sets of 12 (with the bar weight alone) and then two sets with 25-lb. plates on each side (8 reps). I’ll continue this routine for another week (or as long as it takes for me to feel comfortable with my form) before increasing my weight. Needless to say, the next day my legs were sore — I truly missed that feeling.

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