Squats 101: How Low Should You Go?

cat perry
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A man exercising.

For the average gym-goer, the squat can be one of the most overlooked exercises.

The movement is often disregarded for being intimidating, or whatever other reason people come up with to skip legs yet another day. But squatting can be beneficial to almost everyone.

If done correctly, squats can have an enormous impact on your personal goals and progress in the weight room.

What is a Squat?

The squat is a full-body, closed kinetic chain exercise that enables you to work out a multitude of muscles in unison.

You may be thinking to yourself, "What the heck does that mean?"

A closed kinetic chain exercise means that your body is being forced into stabilizing a joint(s) as the body part furthest away is fixed, according to Closed Kinetic Chain Exercise: A Comprehensive Guide to Multiple Joint Exercises, by Todd Ellenbecker and Gorge Davis.

In the squat, the fixed body part is your feet, and the stabilizing joints include the foot, ankle, hips, knees and back. That's a lot of work for one exercise.

More: 5 Lower Body Exercises Every Man Should Do

The Importance of Incorporating Squats into Your Workout

Too often people try to dissect their body like they're Frankenstein. They focus on working out one muscle at a time in to sculpt a particular area.

While there's a time and place for this ultra-specific type of training, compound/multiple joint exercises are too often ignored. Throwing some weight onto a bar, getting yourself underneath it and proceeding to squat can have immense benefits for both health- and performance-based goals.

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