Functional Importance

Squats are used in workout programs for athletes in virtually every sport requiring lower-body strength and power, and with good reason: A 1997 study in the Journal of Sports Science showed that a training program involving heavy squats increased forty-meter sprint speed by 2.2 percent and six-second cycle performance (a measure of lower-body muscle power) by 9 percent.

For athletes who need to jump higher (basketball, volleyball, and football players, for example), the squat has been the mainstay exercise for decades.

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