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Countless athletes add one-legged squats to their workouts, and for good reason. This one exercise can improve muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and coordination, so it is a worthwhile exercise to perform regularly. They can be difficult for some people, as one-legged squats can place extra strain on the knees, ankles, and hips, so if the person considering the exercise has problems with these joints, he or she should consult a trainer or medical professional before attempting this exercise. It will also be important for a person to become familiar with the correct way to do the exercise to prevent injuries.
One-legged squats use the body's weight as natural resistance, and by doing the exercise on one leg at a time, each leg gets more resistance for greater muscle building benefits. The muscles of the legs will become strengthened and toned, and the ligaments in the joints will also benefit from this resistance exercise. Performing several repetitions on each leg during every workout or every other workout will help the person develop stronger muscles as well as muscle flexibility quickly and efficiently. If the exercise is done properly, ligaments will also become strengthened.
Balance is significantly improved by doing one-legged squats, since the person doing the exercise must find a balance point on one leg throughout the motion of the exercise. This can be difficult at first and may take some practice before it is possible to stay balanced throughout the entire motion; people doing the exercise for the first time may want to do it while standing near a wall or other sturdy object for stability. The exercise also requires a fairly high level of coordination and concentration, as several movements take place all at once during the exercise. The person doing the exercise must concentrate on keeping his or her back straight, the leg extended, the muscles engaged, the core supporting the spine, and the balance point properly maintained.
If done correctly, one-legged squats will improve flexibility as well, as the muscles in both legs are required to work at extreme positions, both by flexing and extending. The repeated motion, coupled with a proper stretching routine before and after the exercise is undertaken, will improve flexibility quickly and efficiently. It is important to warm up properly before doing one-legged squats, as stretching the muscles to these extremes without stretching or warming up can lead to injury.
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