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pistol squat

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
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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
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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. 

2 ways to improve your balance and distance in other exercises

2 ways to improve your balance and distance in other exercises

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Pistol squats

Known in other realms as the one-legged squat, the pistol squat is an exercise that requires quite a bit of patience and practice to perfect. There are more functional benefits for practicing pistol squats beyond the obvious realization that they look a lot cooler than most classical bodyweight exercises.  You'll improve your overall strength, stability, and balance as you learn how to support your bodyweight on one leg while controlling your squat's full range of motion. If you can't quite perform pistol squats just yet, start with various progressions:

  • Learn how to do several consecutive repetitions of full two-legged body weight squats
  • Move on to performing assisted pistol squats: either with the help of a bench or a stable standing object

Reach your arms out parallel to the floor in front of your body. Raise one leg, flex your foot, and slowly lower down into a one legged squat. Maintain the position for about a second, then return to start position.

Pistol squats and distance jumps: two moves to improve your balance and distance

Distance jumps

Take your pistol squats and your distance training to the next level with some plyometrics. Distance jumps are incredibly effective exercises for improving your leg's explosion power in other workouts. Not only will these jumps help you to improve your sprint speed, it'll also train your legs to keep from tiring out during a long-distance race.

Begin with your legs hip-distance apart. Bend your knees lightly and explode your body forward as far as you can, being sure to land on both feet softly. When you land, drop your body into a full squat to soften the impact. Follow each repetition with a pistol squat.

The best thing about this workout by PumpUp member @emjoy88 is that it doesn't require any additional equipment or even a gym membership. You can practice this fuss-free balance and distance training workout in the comfort of your backyard.