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Train To Gain: Exercise Selection

Squat or Not? The spine-tingling conclusion

Some trainees’ spines can handle several hundred pounds of weight bearing down on them’but many cannot. At one time or another probably every bodybuilding magazine and every physique champion has declared the squat to be king of the exercises and a fundamental movement. Fundamental to whom? Everyone? If’and that’s a big if’you’re a large-boned athlete with heavy, thick trapezius development, a properly performed squat (slow and deep) can and will stimulate great overall systemic muscular response. For the vast majority of people who train with weights, however’those who are neither heavily boned nor massively muscled around the neck and lumbar areas’squats can be dangerous. Trainees who are tall and lean with long legs should weigh their options carefully.

You have other choices for building hip, leg and overall strength. Hip extensions serve as a safe foundation movement when performed correctly. Leg press machines, manufactured by companies that take orthopedic considerations seriously, can also be a safe core exercise for hip and leg strength.

If you’re determined to squat, the following is the best sequence:

1) Start your workout with hip extensions. 2) Do leg extensions to failure. 3) Do leg curls to failure. 4) Squat.

The order of exercises you use will keep intensity high and force low, since you’ll need less resistance if you squat last. The order of exercises actually ensures far greater intensity. IM

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