Hello, everyone! I'd like to give you all an idea about some basic exercises that everyone should do in one form or another.
What I'll do is describe the exercise, let you know why I feel that everyone should do it and then include a short video showing you how it's done.
I'd like to start with an exercise that, to me, is one of the two most functional exercises you can do: squats.
Every single one of my clients squats and there are many different ways to do it.
Why squat? There's a number of reasons. Lets go down the list.
- It uses nearly every muscle in the body in one way or another. This makes it a great exercise for losing fat, gaining muscle and getting stronger.
- It improves movement and strength in our hips. This is crucial for relieving or preventing pain in our backs, knees and shoulders.
- It's a great exercise to improve bone density which is very important for people as they approach middle age, particularly women.
- It's a fantastic movement to improve full body coordination which can help prevent things like injuries and falls.
- From an athletic performance standpoint, along with strength, it can help improve jumping ability and speed.
- It can help improve our movment patterns as we stand up from a sitting position.
How's that for a list?
How do I squat? Look at the picture above of the 4-year-old boy squatting down and just copy him. I'm not kidding. This is a basic, building-block, movement that we kind of forget how to do as we get older and ruin some of our mobility.
OK, enough blabbering. It’s time to tell you how to do it.
First, stand up. Easy, huh? (You’ll find that the most effective exercises are usually done standing, for the simple reason that you use more muscles standing than sitting.)
Stand with your feet at shoulder width or slightly wider, your toes pointed slightly outward and most of your weight on your heels. Take a deep breath of air into your chest and, keeping your chest up, tighten your core.
Find a spot just above eye level and without taking your eyes off of it, push your hips back as if you are sitting down. From here, continue to push your hips back and descend between your heels until the top of your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Come back up by pushing through your heels. Make sure you keep a tight core and chest.
Now, when you think of doing a squat you may think of some big guy with a heavy barbell on his back. Well, that's not the only way you can do them. You can do them with no weight at all just using your bodyweight, you can do them holding a dumbbell in front of you.
One of my favorite variations is squatting down to a "box". It can be a stable chair or bench as well. This really allows you to emphasize the muscles in your hips and glutes. Muscles that are chronically neglected.
Take a look at the video I've included and let me know if you have any questions.
Have a great day!
Mitch Rothbardt, CPT, PN Lean Eating Coach
Discover Your Strength!