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A basic and functional body weight movement that can be adapted in multiple ways to add total body mass.

Basic start position: Feet should be shoulder width apart, toes pointing slightly out (at 11 & 1 on a clock face). Stand tall and keep the shoulders, chest, hips and knees all facing forward as you execute the movement. Keep your weight evenly distributed through both legs throughout the exercise, and don’t let the knees collapse inwards.

Basic Start Position

Basic Start Position

Body Weight Squat
1. Assume the start position.

2. Bend at the hips and knees as if you’re about to sit on a chair. Squat down with your weight through the mid foot and heels until your thighs are parallel to the floor to work the legs and target the glutes.

3. Return to the standing position by driving through the heels and thrusting your hips slightly forward at the end to engage the glutes further.

Tip: Place your hands behind your head with your heels slightly raised on a small mat to allow for better mobility through the movement. Additionally hold a dumbbell in each hand  to make this exercise harder.

3-squat-bottom-front         4-squat-bottom-side-1


Jump Squat

1. Assume the start position, and squat down as you would with the body weight squat.

2. When reaching the bottom of the squat, drive through the heels and explode at the top of the movement into a jump.

3. Soften the knees and ankles as you land in a half squat position, making sure the knees don’t collapse in as you land.



Barbell (Back) Squat

(Exercise best performed in a squat rack for safety).

1. Set the bar up in a squat rack just above shoulder level. Unrack the bar so it sits across the top of the shoulders (Trapezius muscles), not the neck.

2. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip just wider than shoulder width, keeping the elbows pointing down and tucked into the body.

3. Squat down with the weight through the heels, sitting backwards and keeping an upright position at the torso with the chest facing forward. Inhale as you lower the squat.

4. Drive back up through the heels, maintaining the upright posture and exhale as you return to the start position.

Tip: it’s important to master this technique with low weight, before loading up the bar. Incorrect form with heavy weight can do more damage than good.

10-barbell-squat          12-barbell-squat-bottom-side


Single Leg Squat

Single leg squats are great for noticing strength imbalances between both sides of the body, whilst improving your balance, coordination, core strength and both knee and ankle stability. This is very similar to the double leg squat, but simply balancing on one leg.

1. Start by standing on the leg you wish to work, bracing the core and leg muscles.

2.  Squat down with the weight through the heel keeping the shoulders, chest and hips facing forward (including the unloaded leg), without the torso or pelvis rotating.

3. Activate the glutes and hamstrings to return to the start position, and squeeze the quadriceps at the top to keep the knee stable.

Tip: Try placing your arms out in front of you to counteract your body weight and aid with balance, or use a bench or chair to sit on for a second at the bottom of the movement. 


17-sl-squat-front       18-sl-squat-bench-side-1


Front Squat
(Exercise best performed in a squat rack for safety).

1. Rest the bar across the front of the shoulders (Deltoids). Use an underhand grip holding the bar approx shoulder width apart (figure 1) or cross your arms keeping your elbows at shoulder height and grip the bar for support (figure 2).

2. Assume the start position and bend at the hips and the knees to squat down.

3. As the bar is loading the front of body, it is important to keep the chest and head up and not lean forwards. Keep the front of the knees over the toes throughout the movement, not allowing them to collapse in.

4. Return to the start position pushing mainly through the mid foot.

Tip: it’s important to master this technique with low weight, before loading up the bar. Incorrect form with heavy weight can do more damage than good. 



Please seek the advice of a GP, physiotherapist or a medically qualified personal trainer before commencing any exercise to avoid the risk of any injury. We do not advise performing any exercise if it exhibits any pain or discomfort in any way.

If you have any questions or queries about any of the exercises, please contact the Didsbury clinic (Manchester) to discuss with your physiotherapist or personal trainer.

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