The humble squat does more than you think. Add this exercise to your routine to improve digestion, tone quads, hamstrings and calves. Squats also boost your fat burning power and extend functional fitness. There is even some evidence that squats can reduce the appearance of cellulite. Sounds like squats really are a winner. Here are some variations of the humble squat to try.
Basic Body Weight Squat
Stand with your spine straight and feet spread shoulder-width apart. Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. This is the same move you use when preparing to sit in a chair. Pause before slowly pushing yourself back to the starting position.
When you can comfortably hold good form through 20 body-weight squats you can add some weight. To start place an empty barbell on your back, you can add weights as you build strength.
Place your laced fingers with palms facing inside on the back of your head. Pull your elbows back so that your bent arms form the top of the letter T. Bend your knees as if getting ready to jump. Jump as high as you can. As soon as your feet return to the floor, squat and jump up again.
Grasp an appropriate sized dumbbell and hold it at chest height. Engage your core and plant feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the dumbbell close to your chest while squatting. Pause before slowly pushing yourself back to a starting position. Avoid thrusting your hips forward. Instead, take care to drive through your heels before squeezing your hamstrings, glutes and core as you stand.
Squat with Side Leg Lift
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Extend your arms fully in front of you for balance. Bend your knees and drop your bottom until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Keep your weight in your heels, which should remain on the floor. Stand and straighten your legs completely. Extend your left leg out to the side holding your outer glute in tight as you do. Move your foot back into shoulder-width distance position and squat again. Stand and do a side leg lift on the right. Lower your leg back to the starting position.
The basic body squat is only the beginning. Add some variety to keep your squat routine fresh so you continue to enjoy all the benefits with none of the boredom.