Squats are one of the most important basic exercises for sculpting your legs (and butt!) because they work the largest muscle groups in your body: quads (the front of your thighs), hamstrings (back of your thighs) and glutes (your backside). Stronger, leaner lower-body muscles will make a noticeable difference in your stamina, making your cardio workouts far less painful -- not to mention squats are the fastest way to get jiggle-free thighs and toned calves.
What You'll Need
A pair of medium to heavy dumbbells or a barbell loaded with medium to heavy weights. If you're a beginner, you may want to use just your body weight.
Steps to a Perfect Squat
1. Hold the barbell behind your head and on top of your shoulders with your hands at about shoulder-width apart, or hold the dumbbells by your sides.
2. With your head up and chest out, slowly lower your tailbone toward the floor as if you're sitting in a chair. Your knees shouldn't go beyond the front of your toes. All your weight should be focused toward your heels.
3. Lower yourself on a slow count of four until your knees are at about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a count of two.
4. Press down through your heels and extend your legs up for a count of two until you return to your starting position.
5. Repeat to complete three sets of 15 to 20 reps, with one minute of rest between sets.
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