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.
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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.
We teamed up with certified personal trainer Doug Rice to design a fitness boot camp exclusively for brides! Doug has helped thousands of brides get the results they need to look and feel amazing on their wedding day. Learn more about Doug and the Bridalicious® Boot Camp by The Knot DVD at TheKnot.com/bootcampdvd. Follow Doug on Twitter (@bridalicious) and Facebook (Facebook.com/bridaliciousbootcamp).