It's not hard to reason this one but you migh...
Arnav Sarkar is a Kolkata-based strength and conditioning trainer. He employs a simplicity-centred training style and believes that fitness is fun, and can be for everyone. For more about him, visit his website.
One of the best exercises you can do is bodyweight squats with a lot of repetitions. They help build muscle and endurance, and burn fat real fast. In my opinion, learning to squat your own bodyweight is a basic movement that all human beings should be able to do unless they have some injury that prohibits it.
You can get a great workout just by doing a lot of bodyweight squats if you are running short of time. So lets learn more about this amazing exercise.
• They build muscle: One of the best exercises to build lower body muscles. Your quads, hams, and calves will benefit from this exercise, and look a lot thicker and harder.
• They burn fat: Doing a lot of bodyweight squats--especially after your weight workout--will boost your metabolism enough to help you burn a ton of calories and lose unwanted bodyfat. You will shape your legs much better with this exercise than with those silly leg extensions!
• They increase lung power: Although this exercise looks simple, it works your lungs and builds a great deal of lung power when you do a lot of reps. That's why it makes a great alternative to cardio for those who hate running.
Position: Start with the feet slightly wide--about shoulder width apart. Then turn your feet out slightly. Keep your back straight.
Movement: I personally start this exercise with beginners by making them do bench squats. I find this makes it easier for most beginners to learn the form better and do it safely.
Here's a video demonstrating the bench squat version:
Start by inhaling and simply pushing your hips back. Sit on the bench while keeping your chest out and shoulders back. Go down in a controlled manner. You don't have to be slow, but maintain control and try not to sit down too hard. Get up while breathing out, and push with your heels.
Once you have got the form down with the bench version, try the regular bodyweight squat.
Here's a video demonstration:
This one starts off in the same manner as the bench version. Go down--as low as you can--while keeping your lower back as straight as possible. Maintain control and avoid bouncing when in the bottom position. Get up once again by pushing with your heels. Remember, your heels should remain grounded.
• Letting your knees come in when descending or getting up. They should be on top of the toes.
• Letting your knees go way beyond the toes. Your knees may go a bit ahead of the toes, but do not let them go too far ahead to avoid putting too much strain on your knee joints.
• Letting the heels come up when going down. To get the most from this exercise, learn to push from your heels and not your toes. Keep your feet planted firmly on the ground when you go down and up.
• Letting your back arch too much. Try to keep your back as upright as possible to avoid hurting your lower back.
What about the hands? Should they be by the side, in front, or behind the head? To be honest, you can keep your hands wherever you feel comfortable. There's no hard-and-fast rule here.
Important tip: One of the main reasons why I like to begin with bench squats is because they help teach the importance of pushing your hips back to begin and trying to sit back when doing squats rather than trying to initiate the movement by bending the knees forward. So keep in mind that you should begin by imagining that you are sitting on a bench or chair, rather than trying to start by bending your knees.
Happy squatting, be safe, and here's to burning lots of calories!
-Picture courtesy Thinkstock-
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