The Best Exercise You’re NOT Doing

by Andy Dutra, Clemente Center Personal Trainer

Every Friday The F.I.T. Life will be sharing a great exercise that most people often overlook.  This week our highlighted exercise will be the Body-Weight Squat.

The Body-Weight Squat is a fantastic functional exercise that is perfect for people of all fitness levels.  This exercise strengthens and targets the abdominals, gluteus, lower back, hips, quads, hamstrings, calves, shins, ankles.  The best part of this exercise is that it requires no additional equipment other than a solid floor and your own body.

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) suggests that there are 5 main steps to successfully and safety perform the Body-Weight Squat:

1.  Begin standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointed straight ahead. Your hands can be by your sides with your palms facing inward or straight out in front of you with the palms facing downward.  Be sure that your shoulders are relaxed back toward your hips.

2.  Engage your abdominal muscles to stabilize/brace your core.  Be sure to keep your weight back onto your heels as you begin the exercise.  The back half of the foot should remain connected to the floor at all times.

3.  Begin squatting downward by hinging at the hips, shifting them back and downward.  Your hips and knees will begin to bend simultaneously.  Do not allow your knees to forward past the toes.  It is important to keep your core muscles engaged and try to keep your back flat or with its natural curve.

4.  Continue to lower downward until your thighs are parallel to the floor.  Be sure that your heels do not lift off the floor or that your torso doesn’t begin to round.  Be sure that your feet do not move from their initial position, the ankles do not bend inward or outward, and the knees remain lined up with the middle toes.

5.  On the way back up, be sure to maintain the neutral position of your back and keep the core engaged.  As you return to the standing position, be sure that you push your feet into the floor through your heels.

Continue this process for 60-75 seconds or until fatigued.  Repeat 3-4 times.

If you have any more questions about the Body-Weight Squat (or any other exercise), please stop by The Clemente Center to speak with a Certified Personal Trainer.

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