The body weight squat is an essential movement for everyone no matter your age. If anything, it becomes even more important the older you get. We do squats on a regular basis to do basic activities such as picking up objects, cleaning the floor, getting up from a chair, or getting on the floor to play with your new puppy (something I have happily started doing).
If the only squatting you are doing is sitting in a chair at work and staying there for 8 hours, or you are not able to get up from a chair without using your arms then my advice is to start adding body weight squats into your daily life as soon as possible.
The body weight squat is a multijoint exercise, which means it works multiple muscle groups including your glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also strengthens the stabilizing muscles of your core which could in turn help alleviate lower back pain and allow you stand to tall with better posture. When doing any movement proper form is always very important.
Proper form of the body weight squat:
- Imagine sitting into a chair.
- Start by standing with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward, and your knees in-line with your toes when you look down.
- Keep your back, neck, and head in a neutral position the entire time through the motion.
- Make sure your chest and shoulders are up through the entire motion. You can cross your arms over your chest or hold them out in front of you to counter-balance your weight as you lower.
- Keep your weight on your heels and the balls of your feet through the whole movement. You should be able to wiggle your toes while squatting.
- Keep your knees in-line with your toes as you lower and do not allow your knees to get in front of the toes. Lower your hips to just below parallel with your knees and hold this position for a second to assess your body alignment and make sure you are using proper form.
- Begin rising from the squat. Press through your heels as if you are moving the ground away from you, and begin straightening out your legs.
- Straighten out completely to return to the starting position. Repeat.
Modifications (less difficult): Stability ball wall-assisted squats, chair sit and stands, suspension trainer (such as TRX) squats, and holding onto a door frame or bar while squatting.
Progressions (more difficult): Barbell back squat, barbell front squat, goblet squat, and all other weighted squats or plyometric squats (jumping).
All of the equipment listed in the above exercises can be found on our Fitness Equipment list on Amazon if you want to make your home gym awesome! For other fitness related products go to our Product Recommendations page.
*Note the above exercises will be explained in later posts. Progressions should only be performed once the body weight squat has been mastered with proper form.
Ways to incorporate more squatting into your daily life:
- Take multiple short breaks between work tasks by getting up from your chair (without using your arms) to walk around. This also helps to reenergize and refocus your mind.
- While you are waiting for your food to heat up in the microwave or bake in the oven see how many squats you can do before the timer hits zero.
- When you are on the phone talking to a friend or family member do as many squats as you can before the conversation ends.
- During commercials of your favorite show do as many squats as you can until it comes back on. If you are binge watching a show on Netflix then do between 10 and 20 body weight squats in between each episode or before you sit back down from refilling your beverage.
- Do 10 – 20 squats when you are fully awake in the morning, after you eat dinner, and right before you shower.
- When playing with your puppy pick him up and do some squats while he licks your face haha!
Squatting is so very important because it is what keeps us off the couch and moving! As long as you are able to stay on your feet and keep moving every day then a healthy life should follow.
Stay active to become Happily Ever Healthy!