The bodyweight squat
The bodyweight squat, and all its variations, is a brilliant, simple exercise for burning fat, building muscle and maintaining a solid base (extremely important as you age)!
In order to make the most progress and not injure yourself during squats it is important that you know how to squat properly, especially if you are performing squats with weights!
- Standing with your feet about shoulder width apart and your head looking slightly up, smoothly push your bottom back and down.
- Continue to lower until your thighs are in a parallel position to the floor. Then smoothly push from your heels, raising to the starting position.
- Keep a neutral spine and breathe smoothly throughout.
- You may want to cross your arms on your chest or hold them out in front of you, parallel to the floor.
Easier squat variations
- Use a tree, doorway or TRX bands for support.
- Reduce the range of motion (don’t go all the way down to parallel) until your strength and mobility increases, allowing a deeper squat.
- Start the squat from seated (on a bench or chair) and try to stand up without using your hands. If you need to, rock forward a little until you become strong enough to stand without rocking.
Harder squat variations
- Super slow squats – 10 seconds down, 10 seconds up (or longer).
- Single leg pistol squat (see video below).
- Squat with toes against wall and arms spread.
- Frog jumps or jump squats (see video below).
- Increase the range of motion – go deeper into the squat without it affecting your form (see video below).