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Focus on Fitness! Squats and Lunges

We know how hard you work at classes, everyone! So, we decided to devote a monthly article to all of the benefits you are receiving from different portions of the routines we are giving you. This month, we are focusing on leg workouts. While we know that you feel the burn from all of those lunges and squats that we have you do, do you know everything that you are accomplishing while you do them? I bet not!  Here is a breakdown of what your basic lunge and your basic squat does for you.

Squats

In the royal family of leg exercises, squats are the king. They are also the most functional exercise for daily life. Just think about how many times a day you squat: when you sit down in a chair, when you get a file out of the bottom file drawer, and when you squat down to pick something up off the floor, like a bag of groceries or your child (if you lift correctly). Squatting works on the largest muscles in your body – the quadriceps (front of thigh), adductors (inside of thigh), gluteals (buttocks), hamstrings (back of thigh), gastrocnemius and soleus complex (calf), and erector spinae (back). Squats can also help you develop flexibility around your hips and calves, when you follow proper form and gradually increase your range of motion. Squats have the added benefit of being a free-weight and weight-bearing exercise. Free weights have many advantages over machines (see chapter 5) ,and free-weight squats specifically have been shown to improve bone density.

Lunge

The lunge is unique in its ability to work both the quadriceps and hamstrings. For instance, if you perform the leg press, you strongly stimulate the thighs but not the hamstrings. Likewise, if you perform the leg cuff, you work the hamstrings but not the quads. However, the lunge is a superb exercise for stimulating a solid slab of muscle growth throughout your lower limbs–even the glutes benefit from this terrific movement. Enhancing the body’s ability to jump, run and lift, the muscle gains are functional as well as aesthetic. In addition to stimulating muscle growth, the lunge develops balance and agility.

Sources: http://www.heathline.com

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