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What is a Leg Squat?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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A leg squat can refer to two very different exercises; both exercises work the legs, especially the thighs, and both exercises help work core muscles that promote overall health. But one leg squat exercise involves the use of weights, while the other leg squat exercise can be done without weights in the convenience of the living room or other open space. Both exercises should be performed with a spotter if possible, but if proper precautions are taken, a leg squat exercise can be performed solo.

The weight lifting version of the leg squat involves some gym equipment. A squat rack is a piece of gym machinery that stabilizes a long barbell so the user can drop the weight quickly if necessary without hurting him or herself. The bar fits into slotted vertical arms and the weights are placed on the outside of the barbell. Should the user have to drop the bar, stops within the vertical arms will prevent the weights from falling uncontrollably. To perform this exercise, the user will stand with the barbell behind the shoulders. The hands grip the barbell outside the shoulders. The user will squat down into a sitting position while supporting the weights, then rise again to a standing position. This is a strenuous exercise that can cause damage to the body if not performed correctly, so it is important to consult a trainer before attempting this.

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The other type of leg squat works similarly to the method mentioned above, but no weights are involved. There are several variations of the leg squat performed without weights, but the most common method involves moving into a sitting position and rising again to a standing position, just like the squats performed with weights. This works a variety of leg muscles and can help strengthen the lower back.

A variation on this exercise is the one-legged squat. This can be a difficult exercise because it requires a significant amount of balance and strength. Starting in a standing position, extend the left leg forward. All the body's weight will now be on the right leg. Extend the arms forward for balance. Hold this position, then gradually lower the body to the ground. As the body lowers, the left leg should straighten as much as possible, and the body's weight should lower onto the right leg. Once the hamstring touches the calf muscles, the bottom of the squat has been reached. Repeat this exercise with the other leg for a good lower body workout.

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