by Sally Symonds
Studies show that squats burn more calories than any other single exercise – not to mention the butt-boosting-benefits! It’s important to have correct squatting technique in order to avoid injuries. But once you’ve mastered this, then varying your squats is one of the best ways to get the most out of the exercise. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
1. Technique squat
Stand in front of a chair or step approximately as high as the back of your knee.
Lower into a normal squat and keep the pressure in the heels of your feet. Make sure you have your abs drawn in to support yourself. Leading with your hips, lower yourself until you touch the chair, sit down, then rise back up to standing position.
– When you feel the chair touch your butt, go straight back up to the standing position. This makes the exercise harder—because you don’t sit down, your leg muscles don’t get a rest.
Start with a high chair or step, and when your confidence, technique and strength have grown, lower the chair or step height to below the knee so you can squat deeper and make the exercise more challenging.
2. Uneven squat (one foot on step or bosu)
Place one leg on a slightly elevated flat surface such as a step or bosu). Distribute your weight evenly between both legs.
Lower into a normal squat. Make sure you distribute your weight evenly in both legs as much as possible throughout the movement. The leg on the ground will work slightly harder.
Note: a brick, solid box or even the bottom of your stairs at home make an excellent substitute for an aerobic step or bosu.
3. Dumbbell weighted balancing squat on a balance beam
Place a balance beam on the ground and stand on top of it in a normal squat start position. Hold a dumbbell in each hand down beside your body.
Lower into a normal squat. Keep your weight through the middle of your feet and minimise any wobbling.
4. Double freeFORM squat
Place both of your freeFORMs in their docks with the deck-locks disengaged. Stand with one foot on top of each freeFORM. Position the freeFORMs so you can stand with your feet stand shoulder-width apart.
Lower into a normal squat. Focus on minimising any rotation in the freeFORM.
5. Zerchers squat
Start in a normal squat position. Bend your arms and hold them out in front of you. Place a barbell across your elbow joint at approximately chest height.
Lower into a normal squat, and focus on maintaining upright posture and not allowing the weight in your arms to pull you and your shoulders forward.
So whether you’re looking for an easy way to lose weight or some super strength gains, no exercise program is complete without a range of squat options.
About the author
Sally Symonds is a health and fitness writer, motivational speaker and one of the few people in the world who has lost over 50% of her original body weight.