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5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

5 bodyweight squats you should be doing (or trying)

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Let's get down to business to defeat the buns. You don't need a gym to get a full body workout. You might not even need equipment! Bodyweight squats achieve just that: it's a compound exercise that, when performed properly, exerts most major muscle groups. Here are 5 bodyweight squats that you should try today:
The deep squat
Deep bodyweight squats gif
When you’re treading in shallow water, your range of motion is fairly limited in comparison to when you’re swimming in deeper water. The same rings true for squats. By lowering your squat past your knees, you’ll be activating more muscles and burn more calories. Don’t sweat it: deep bodyweight squats won’t impact your knees any more than regular squats will. Weighted deep squats might even be more effective at increasing strength than parallel squats. Keep your weight in the heels and balls of your feet and make sure that your back isn’t overarched, ensuring that your knees don’t extend past your toes.
The prisoner squat
prisoner squats
Image via GymRa
Make your squats more challenging by placing your hands behind your head. Your body will work harder to stabilize itself throughout the movement, relying less on momentum and more on muscle control. The same rules apply: ground your feet, keep your knees in line with your ankles and maintain good posture throughout the movement.
The plié squat
plie squat blogilates gif
It’s high time to work your thighs. The plié squat specifically targets your quads, inner thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Begin with your legs in a stance slightly wider than your shoulders and turn your feet about 45 degrees outward. Load the weight unto your heels and squat straight down, keeping your knees in line with your ankles. For an extra challenge, hold a weight in between your legs as you perform these bodyweight squats.
The jump squat
Jump squats cosmopolitan
Make sure you have good basic squat mechanics before you perform this plyometric move. Your knees shouldn't cave in and your chest should be higher than your hips. Lower down into a squat and jump vertically. When you land, decelerate so that you don’t put too much pressure on your joints. Make your landing slow and controlled and land through your heel. Use your arms to help propel yourself when you're starting out. Place them behind your head for an extra challenge. Clap your feet together while jumping to make the move more tricky.
The pistol squat
Pistol squat
While squats are challenging in themselves, pistol squats take difficult to an entirely different meaning. Gradual practice is necessary before you’ll be able to perform a full one-legged squat. When perfected, these bodyweight squats can help you to improve your strength, stability and balance. Keep your arms parallel to the floor, raise one leg with your foot flexed, and lower down slowly. Hold the position for a moment, then stand back up.
This article about bodyweight squats is part of a series of posts for #ChallengeMe: PumpUp's series of daily mini-challenges to keep you motivated. Check out the full challenge here. 

Here's why you should set daily challenges

This is a post by PumpUp member Claire Kane (@voltafitness), qualified fitness instructor, sports nutritionist, and the brains behind VoltaFitness

As a newly qualified fitness instructor I have recently become aware that I will in no time at all be helping others make and achieve their fitness goals. Because of this I have been taking part in the #MyResolution challenge with PumpUp and with each day I am seeing the benefits of setting yourself daily “challenges” that run in tandem with your goals or resolutions.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Constant motivation
  • Consistency
  • Regular sense of achievement
  • Planning gets you further to your end goal

Challenges you could set yourself:

Post all meals and snacks on Pump Up

Set yourself a challenge of posting all of your meals on Pump Up some days. This will encourage you to firstly be aware of what you are eating and secondly to plan your meals carefully. This will, theoretically, help you to see the benefit of meal planning and hopefully make it a habit.

Go up 5% or 10% on your lifts

Unless you have a personal trainer or have a gym buddy you are probably guilty of going a little easy of yourself and not pushing progression. One day of the month up your weights; you might be surprised at how manageable it is. The sense of achievement and confidence to come from this will keep you smiling for a days.

Try a (new) class or something different

If you train solo set yourself a task of going to a class, if you find you’re falling out of love with fitness, try something new.

I attended TRX classes and do a lot of weight training and Intense Cardio. When I felt like I was hitting a bit of a block, fitness wise, last year I went wall climbing. It reinstated my belief that I am strong and it was darn fun too!

Give your metabolism a needed shock by trying something different; it’s the best kept fitness secret.

Write out all your achievements

When we’re working towards a goal we can often hit a slump. “What’s the point?” “I keep slipping up” and other negative thoughts might cross your mind. About half way through your programme/the month set a challenge to write down all the things you have achieved in fitness and nutrition for as long back as you like.

This will give you an instant boost and keep you right on track.

Time to set yourself some challenges! I’d love to hear how you’re going to challenge yourself. Type them out and tag me in them on Pump Up (@VoltaFitness) 

Connect with Claire!