What is the single best strength-building exercise many people could be doing right this minute, but almost certainly are not?
Consult enough exercise scientists and the latest exercise research, and the answer would likely be resounding: squats.
“For lower-body strength and flexibility, there is probably no better exercise,” said Dr Bryan Christensen, a professor of biomechanics at North Dakota State University in Fargo, who studies resistance exercise.
The benefits are not confined to the lower body.
Dr Silvio Rene Lorenzetti, director of the Performance Sports division of the Swiss Federal Institute of Sport in Magglingen, said: “It is really a whole-body exercise. It requires core stability and trains the back.”
Some people worry that squats can imperil the knees and hips, but the exercise can actually help protect and improve the workings of these and other joints, said Dr Sasa Duric, an exercise scientist at the American University of the Middle East in Kuwait, who has studied squats.
The movement “helps maintain the flexibility, stability and function” of hips, knees and ankles, he added.