Squatting is an essential exercise that should be part of any fitness program, I tell my clients as a personal trainer. There are numerous styles of squatting, however.
Below are three unique versions of the squatting motion. Give them a try. They can be used as warm-ups to the back squat, as the second exercise in a superset, or as finishers.
Kneel to Squat
Kneel on the floor so that your butt is on top of your heels, balls of feet on floor. If your instep is on the floor, this won’t work.
Now, from this position, transition to a half squat. This is done in a single motion, which means it’s a plyometric move. You must become momentarily airborne. And you must be very fast and confident.
Both feet leave the floor at the same time and you quickly bring them under your center of gravity, then plant both feet simultaneously on the floor. Because you’re staying low the entire time, the final position is a half squat.
This can be intimidating to attempt. Try it first on a mattress to gain confidence and skill. It’s even easier to attempt it for the first time on a trampoline. Sooner or later, you’ll have the confidence to do it on a gym mat.
Have you tried the Hawaiian squat?
Some names of exercises may be a bit strange, but the exercises are very well-worth a try. The Hawaiian squat is an advanced move.
Stand on one leg, and cross the other leg over the support leg (the way a man “crosses his legs” while seated).
The crossed foot rests above the knee of the standing leg. Begin lowering into a squat just on the one standing leg, arms forward to keep from falling backwards. You’ll need a considerable forward lean as well to prevent toppling backwards.
The goal is to get the squatting leg’s femur parallel to the floor. You’ll be way leaned forward by this point, so don’t try to maintain the lower back arch. The whole time, the crossed foot stays above the squatting leg’s knee, never losing contact.
Can you do one repetition? Five? 10? Practice first with a nearby support to grab in case you lose balance.
What is a Hindu squat?
Stand with good posture, feet about hip width apart. Feet can be pointed slightly to moderately outward, whichever suits you best.
Extend arms out in front, parallel to the floor. Now begin lowering into a squat, and as you do so, bring hands towards your chest as though pulling tension band handles towards you. Keep lowering, hands at chest. As you begin getting deep, let arms swing behind the hips.
As you approach a full squat, go slightly up on the balls of your feet, and keep proceeding until your hamstrings are making contact with your calves. As you rise, return heels to the floor and let arms swing in front.
Do 20 to 30 reps with as much fluidity as possible. Do not rush through the repetitions. Hindu squats make a great finisher to traditional back squats.