The (safe) Dumbbell Squat & Dumbbell Calf Raise

as seen in Maximum Fitness online e-magazine!

photography by Robert Reiff of athlete is Max Wettstein

The Maximum Fitness Advisory Team is ready to answer your questions!

Answered by Hugo Rivera, CFT, SPN

Q: I’ve heard that squats are unsafe for your knees and lower back. Is that true?

A: Several studies show that a properly executed squat is safer than a leg extension—and an even better exercise option for knee rehabilitation. The key to squat safety is to lift a weight that you can control. Your knees should never go past your toes, and your back should always be slightly arched. As you lower your body, your torso should remain as upright as possible. Typically, lifters who injure themselves with squats use far too much weight and, as a result, bend too far forward (which puts excessive stress on their lower back) and allow their knees to go past their toes (which puts stress on their knee joints).


Q: What is the best training frequency and repetition range for calves? Should I train them every day?

A: Let me put it to you this way. I'm not an auto-mechanic. I know how to change my oil and do a few random check-ups, but when I need work one on my car I take it into a professional. A monthly or bi-monthly assessment could be extremely beneficial. It doesn’t matter if your goals are fat loss, muscle growth or anything in between. As guys, we tend to stick to what we know and do what we've always done—even if it means getting the same result. Sometimes it takes an outside professional opinion to determine that next step.

Have a question for the Maximum Fitness Advisory Team? Send it to and be sure to tell them Max Wettstein sent you:)


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