The Fundamentals of the Bodyweight Squat

The bodyweight squat is one of the most beneficial moves that you can do when you are working out, and the best part of it is that you can do them anywhere and there are no special pieces of equipment needed to perform them. Except for beginners, who might need the assistance of a chair, the only piece of equipment you need is your body. Bodyweight exercises like these are ideal for everyone, whether you are a powerlifter or just someone who wants to be able to move well with good balance as you get older. You can do them easily at home, the office, even waiting in line at your local department of motor vehicles.

 


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The first thing that you have to think of is you’re going from a sitting to a standing position. Most people when they first start to do a squat is that they bend their knees. Your knees should not track over your toes. The idea of squatting is hinging the hips backward first as you keep your chest up.

Starter Exercise:

Seated Squat

For practical purposes, do the exercise into a chair for a start until you get the movement perfected. Start with a chair that’s relatively close to parallel with your legs and body. This is a great way to start doing bodyweight squats for anyone who has never attempted them before.

Begin in an upright sitting position, with your feet flat on the floor and maintaining a proper alignment with your head, shoulders and hips. Place your hands on your hips or extend your arms out front at chest-height. Contract your core and push through your heels to lift your seat up into an upright standing position. Return to the starting position and repeat the movement.

Start with one set of 5 to 8 reps. Perform this exercise in a smooth, controlled movement. The intensity is light.

Once you got the movement perfected, you are now ready to move the chair.


Standard Exercise:

Bodyweight Squat

Begin in an upright standing position with your legs slightly more than hip-width apart, and your toes slightly pointed outward.  Maintain a proper alignment with your head, shoulders and hips. Extend both arms in front of your body at chest-height. Contract your core then bend your knees and hinge through your hips to move into a squat position, ideally bringing your knees to a 90-degree angle. Raise back up and repeat the movement.

Some people have what is known as tight iliotibial bands, or IT bands, which are on the outside of a person’s legs. Doing this kind of exercise cans cause people with this condition to want to angle their knees together, which is not only bad form but also diminishes the potential benefits of doing this exercise. If this is the case, imagine that your knees are being pushed apart and your feet are holding you in place on the floor, allowing you to engage your legs properly when performing the exercise.

Start with one set of 5 to 8 reps. Perform this exercise in a smooth, controlled movement. The intensity is light to moderate.

Whether you are new to the exercise or somebody who wants to take it to the next level and start adding weight, the fundamentals of a bodyweight squat are going to serve you well throughout the rest of your life.