The Bodyweight Squat is one of the best exercises that you will ever perform. These squats will improve your strength and stamina while challenging your will and desire!
1. Assume a stance with your feet shoulder-width apart (or slightly wider) and toes pointing forward.
2. Lower your butt down (flat footed) as you maintain an upright posture.
3. Simultaneously lift your heels from the ground as your butt becomes parallel with the floor.
4. Drive off of your toes to rise back to an upright position.
Remember to maintain an upright posture throughout this movement. Upright does not mean straight as a board, but do not allow yourself to hunch over with your back. A completely straight posture will put undo strain on the lower back. A SLIGHT bend at the waist and rounding of the back is acceptable. Avoid bending over as you proceed throughout the exercise. Your movement should be relaxed and smooth.
HAND POSITION OPTIONS
Some prefer to keep the hands down at their sides while others prefer to hold their arms out in front for balance.
Lower your hands behind your legs as you drop towards the floor. Your hands will essentially guide you to the ground. On your way up, you can either leave your arms by your side or swing them forward, while exhaling and pushing upwards from the balls of your feet.
I prefer to leave my hands by my side throughout the movement. Some "experts" believe you should swing the arms forward but let's not forget that this exercise targets the LEGS. Your legs will feel the pain regardless of your hand position.
Hands In Front
Another variation is to raise your arms outward as you lower yourself. Bring your hands back to your sides as you return to the upright position.
Hand position is not as important as the actual leg movement. Choose a hand position that is comfortable. Maintain your balance and posture throughout the entire range of motion.
I often come across hardcore weight lifters who laugh at the thought of a Bodyweight Squat. These simple-minded barbell jockeys throw weight on their back and finish 8 repetitions in less than one minute. They "assume" that their weight lifting strength is superior to the Bodyweight Squat.
Always remember that when you assume, you make an ASS out of U and ME. The moral to the story is that you should not make assumptions.
After 10 or 20 Bodyweight Squats Mr. Barbell usually laughs and smirks about the ease of the exercise. As he approaches 50, he begins to reevaluate his initial thoughts. His legs will start to burn and fill with lactic acid. Eventually, as he creeps towards 100, his legs start to shake. He quickly becomes victim to an ass kicking from the Bodyweight Squat!
Most grown men cannot complete 200 or 300 consecutive Bodyweight Squats.
Your response should be, "We are not mere men, we are WARRIORS!"
As a Warrior you should be able to perform 500 consecutive Bodyweight Squats. Do not be in a hurry to achieve this goal. It takes time and plenty of sore mornings with shaky legs. After a few weeks, you will perform Bodyweight Squats without soreness. There is nothing wrong with starting at sets of 25 or 50. Patience is a virtue. If it were easy to do 500 squats, it would not be a worthwhile goal. Commit yourself to excellence and nothing can stop you!
Bodyweight Squats should be conducted at a fairly brisk pace. This is not a slow paced movement with rest periods between repetitions. The movement is continuous. The pace of the Bodyweight Squat adds to its difficulty. You will combine strength training and endurance training into one exercise. This exercise will test your willpower as you approach several hundred repetitions. It should take approximately 15 minutes to finish 500 Bodyweight Squats. 100 squats should take 3 minutes or less.
Please note that several training routines are provided in a later chapter. GO DOWN ALL THE WAY
You should lower yourself as far as you can when performing the Bodyweight Squat. This squat requires a full range of motion. These instructions may go against everything you have ever learned about proper squatting technique. Most weight lifters are instructed to squat down until their thighs are parallel with the ground. These lifters are not receiving the full benefit of this amazing exercise.
Healthy individuals should be able to perform a full range of motion during the squat without problems. You should be able to go to the point where the back of the hamstring touches the calf. If you cannot lower yourself this far, you should stretch your hamstrings. Flexibility is important to foster a full range of motion.
One final point that I wish to discuss involves squatting in front of a mirror. My advice is to stay away from the mirror. When you admire yourself in the mirror while squatting, there is a tendency to become distracted. You may end up looking at your legs or feet. When this happens, your center of gravity shifts forward which shifts the stress of the movement to your lower back! When you are squatting, the ONLY place you should be looking is straight ahead. Pick a focus point and concentrate on the task at hand. You will have plenty of time afterwards to admire your newly developed, functional legs.
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