MountainStar Health - September 06, 2019

Ready, set, squat! This month we’re challenging you to do squats at least three days a week to build strength and flexibility in the knees, calves and glutes.

Here’s why it matters

Every day, you use squatting movements to stand up, sit down, put away groceries and more. So being able to squat easily ensures you can get in and out of your car easily, pick up heavy items safely and maintain mobility.

How to do a basic squat

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointing forward. Lean slightly forward and extend arms in front of you. Bend your knees and push your hips back into a squat position, as if sitting on a chair. Hold for 3-5 seconds, then rise to standing. If balance is a problem, put a bench or sturdy chair behind you for safety. Squat to just above the seat and hold. Repeat 10 times.

If this is too hard, try chair squats. Simply squat until you are sitting on a chair, then slowly rise with arms extended. Avoid pushing off with your hands. For an even easier chair squat, start by sitting on the edge of a sturdy chair. Extend your arms in front of you and slowly raise your hips a few inches off the chair. Hold 3–5 seconds and lower. Repeat 10 times.

When doing any squat, remember to keep your chest out, back straight and feet flat on the floor. When you’re ready for something harder, increase your reps, do an extra set or hold hand weights while you squat.