squat

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Deep Squat

Why this: Deep squats, where your hip crease goes past the knees, are not only great for your overall mobility, but they also increase knee stability by building strength in the quads, says Taylor Gainor, co-founder and trainer at LIT Method. And when you consider that knee arthritis affects younger people, too, strengthening and protecting your knees becomes especially important. Researchers estimate that nearly 6.5 million people between the ages of 35 and 84 will be diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis by 2020.

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and either arms by your sides or hands clasped in front of your chest. Sit back in your heels, as if you're going to sit in a chair. Lower your body as far as you can, until your thighs are below parallel to the ground. Pause for 1 second, then push through your heels to return to start for 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 10 reps. (For an extra challenge, hold 8-pound dumbbells at your sides, while maintaining proper form.)

Did you know: You don't need to add loads of weight to your squat in order for it to be effective. In fact, a small study found that deep squats done with lighter weights were more effective at increasing strength than parallel squats done with heavy weights.
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.