Deep knee bends are great for toning your buns and building strength; however, their fat-burning power is minimal. Spot reduction is a myth, and total fat loss only happens when you burn more calories than you eat -- no matter what exercise you choose. That said, adding deep knee bends, also called squats, to your resistance-training routine can help you shape your bod nicely.
About Knee Bends
Deep knee bends are killer for the hamstrings on the backs of your thighs, quadriceps on the fronts of your thighs, gluteal muscles in your buttocks and hip and calf muscles. Perform them by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bending your knees and hips until your thighs parallel the ground. Pause for a few seconds, then slowly push back up to the starting position. For best results, perform 10 to 12 repetitions, rest and repeat for two to three total sets. To make deep knee bends tougher, hold a weight in each hand.
Fat burning is all about calories. Like other body-weight moves, deep knee bends burn about 170 calories in 30 minutes if you weigh 155 pounds and exercise at a moderate pace. It only takes a few minutes to perform two or three sets of knee bends, so you won't torch many calories with squats alone. Cardio exercise is the best choice for fast fat burning -- for example, a jog at 5 mph burns about 300 calories in 30 minutes at 155 pounds. Other good choices include cycling or swimming. Get 30 to 60 minutes of cardio most days of the week.
Luckily, the fat-burning effect of deep knee bends extends beyond immediate calorie use. Muscle requires calories for maintenance, and knee bends build muscle -- so eventually, your resting metabolism will go up and you'll burn more calories around the clock. To really rev your metabolism, perform strength training for all muscle groups: arms, legs, hips, back, chest and stomach. Body-weight moves such as crunches and pushups will do, as will lifting weights or taking a Pilates class.
Food has a greater influence over body fat than exercise, so keep portion sizes in check and fill up on low-cal fare with plenty of nutrients. Munch on leafy greens, fresh fruits and steamed vegetables along with whole grains such as whole-wheat noodles and brown rice. For protein, look to tofu, beans and nonfat cheese -- fat has more than double the calories of protein or carbs, so going lean is key.
- ExRx.net: Squat Analysis
- Georgia State University Department of Kinesiology and Health: Alternative Strength Training Exercises
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- American College of Sports Medicine: Metabolism is Modifiable with the Right Lifestyle Changes
- Drugs.com: Food Label Reading
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images