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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Brandon’s Fitness Corner

    To the detriment of physiques the world over, the majority of those who lift weights make the mistake of neglecting their legs. Make no mistake about it; the legs form the foundation of the entire body and are the source of power for many athletic movements.

    Enter the bodyweight squat. The bodyweight squat is an exercise that provides a multitude of benefits for trainees and athletes alike. Besides building a good deal of strength and endurance in the legs, bodyweight squats build explosive power in the lower body and, when done properly, provide a terrific cardiovascular workout.

    Those with knee pain will find that these weight free squats will work wonders when it comes to alleviating joint problems. Just because bodyweight squats do not require an external load does not mean that they aren’t challenging. Expect to feel the burn mainly in your quadriceps and lungs.

    Follow the steps below and you’ll be squatting in no time:

    1. Stand straight with your head and eyes straight to the front, your feet about shoulder width apart.

    2. Keeping your back straight, squat down as far as possible. As you squat down, avoid the temptation to bend at the waist and bring your upper body forward. Your lower back should be naturally rounded and protected.

    3. As far as hand placement goes, some prefer to keep their hands down at their sides while others prefer to hold their arms out in front of them for balance. Clasping your hands behind your head forces you to work harder to keep your balance. Find out what works for you.

    4. Squat down until your butt just about touches your calves and come back up, locking out your knees. Repeat this sequence for as long as you can. Eventually, you will establish a rhythm when doing squats. You should take about one second to squat down and one second to come back up.

    To increase the difficulty of this exercise, come up on your toes when squatting down, bringing your heels off the floor. This will greatly test your balance. Or, try doing your squats barefoot. Leaving your shoes out of the picture will strengthen the muscles in your feet. The latter option is more suited towards those who train outside of the gym. Nobody wants to smell feet.

    Next time, we’ll go over some different lower body exercises and squat variations that you can do virtually anywhere.

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