The squat is a foundational exercise done at Ellipse Fitness, and by many for fitness in general. Done properly, the squat builds lower body strength and cardiovascular stamina. One of the greatest advantages of the squat is that it can be done in the comfort of your home with the only resistance being gravity (no fancy equipment)!
To perform a squat correctly, stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Extend both arms straight out from your body (parallel to the ground). Now visualize a chair that you will be sitting on, as this is the proper depth of a squat. With the weight of your body on your heels, your chest forward and shoulders back, inhale as you lower yourself into your imaginary chair. Pause, and then exhale rising to where you started.
You will find that when done with proper form, the squat is a challenge! To increase the challenge, try the following:
Speed squats: See how many squats you can do in 30 seconds while keeping proper form.
Isometric squats: Once you lower yourself to the proper depth pause for 5 seconds.
Weighted squats: Do 30 seconds of perfect form squats with a weight or kettle bell at your chest or weights in each hand by your shoulders (but not resting on your shoulders).
The squat is a powerful tool that can quickly and effectively maintain your fitness, minimize lower back pain and restore proper posture. Remember: good form is key to getting the full benefit of the exercise and avoiding any injuries.