Monday, July 30, 2012

The Basics: Body Weight Squats

This article is about the basic squats with no weights, for deep knee bends, click here

Here at No Need for Gear, a strong, healthy, and fit body is in your reach without ever paying a single gym fee. You can do the training at safety and comfort of your own home. Simple exercises which are often taken for granted are given a new light to help you in attaining your health and fitness goals, along with an aesthetic body.

In life, we know for a fact, that for anything to be considered stable, it should be firmly placed on a strong foundation. Even at sea, boats and ships use heavy chains and anchors to keep them in place so as not to be carried away by the waves. The human body operates on the same principle. Strong, powerful legs are vital to everyday living, and its functions are only limited by the conception of the mind of the person  who uses them. Therefore, it is of great importance for us to build

So far, I have given you info about 2 great exercises which are time proven in terms of their effectiveness in building all around strength and health, confidence, and a nice aesthetic look to the body. The push ups and the pull ups tend focus more on the upper body. In this post, we will round up the exercises for the entire body with the most basic of them all: The Body Weight Squats.

The B.W. Squats, is in essence, the only exercise that requires the least amount of space, and perhaps the only multijoint exercise that can be performed anytime, anywhere without you having to drop on the floor (like the push up), or find a sturdy, overhead bar (like the pull ups). Basically, it mimics the action of sitting down and getting up from a chair. However, B.W. squats do require some knowledge of the finer points in its execution to make it more effective at building muscle and increasing the endurance of your legs.

Benefits of Doing Body Weight Squats

  • Excellent Cardiovascular Exercise. The legs make up HALF of the entire body, thus require tremendous amount of blood once they are used during exercise. Squatting increases heart rate and facilitates in the burning of fat.
  • Ups the Endurance of the Legs.  We walk around on our legs all day, and at times, we are forced to use them for very long periods of time without a break (like standing all day or when your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and you have to hike to the nearest town or so). Doing high repetition B.W. squats ensure that you are fit to face anything that requires you to push your legs to the limit.
  • Increased Lung Power. This is tied with the first benefit listed. One high rep set can leave you huffing and gasping for air like no other exercise.
  • Extra Air in Your Lungs Help Relieve Stress. Squats done in a rhythmic fashion helps ease your mind after a stressful day at work or school. Focus on your breathing and you will know what I am talking about.
  • Builds lean muscle. Studies have proven that compound movements (those which require you to use  2 or more joints) forces the body to produce hormones that build muscle and burns fat.
  • Tones Both the Legs and the Butt Muscles. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the lower you go on this exercise, the more you recruit your glutes. Bootylicious? that would be you in a few weeks time!
  • Helps to Keep Your Joints Healthy and Lubricated.

Building Enough Strength and Flexibility to Perform a Body Weight Squat

Warning. Be sure to consult a health professional before embarking on any exercise program. For those who have a history of knee injuries or any condition that prevents you from doing a full range of motion squat, proceed with caution. Stay above the pain at all times and slowly increase the range of motion.

Often times, people already have the strength to do squats, they just lack the flexibility to go down deep enough to perform a full rep. To me, the best exercise that will help you increase both strength and flexibility is the wall sit, pictured below:

The wall sit *

Stand about 18 inches to 2 feet facing away from the wall. Carefully lean back on the wall and slide down until your legs form a 90 degree angle. Simultaneously contract your abs (again don't suck it in, just make it solid as if it is ready to guard against a punch) and clench your butt in. Hold that position for about 30 seconds, and slowly build to 4 sets of 90 second holds. Don't forget to breath!

Performing a Body Weight Squat

After a few weeks of doing wall sits, you are now ready to perform a full squat. To do this, begin with standing up with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes pointing out on whatever position that gives you the most stability. Start your movement by sticking your butt out and bending your knees in a controlled manner. Try to keep your shins vertical without letting your knees go past beyond your toes.Also, keep your abs and your entire legs contracted the entire time. To make the movement be more fluid, move your thighs along the direction of your toes.Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, push your heels to the ground and go back to the standing position. You have the option of keeping  your hands on your head or keeping them raised in front of you. Exhale when you are standing up, and inhale as you go down. Work to perform a set of 25 reps daily for about a week. Once you are able to do that, do 2 sets a day. After that, try performing 2 sets for 50-75 reps  daily.

The two photos above illustrate the proper start and end positions for the squat. Just be in control in both the ascending and the descending portions. Total body tension for max strength and increased fat burning!

Want a custom made exercise program just for you? Click Here

Bonus Exercise:

To further focus on the butt, hamstrings, hips and calves, along with increased flexibility of the hips, core stability, balance, coordination and a host of other benefits, I present to you: THE ONE LEGGED DEADLIFT with no weights

Just ignore the fact she's holding dumbells

Use the same total body tensioning to keep you stable and make the exercise more effective. Match the number of sets and reps with the bodyweight squats. Don't forget to have fun while doing these exercises.

Hanggang sa Muli!


  1. Yeah right, squatting is a good exercise like planking workouts. Thanks for sharing this to us and looking forward for more updates.

    1. Thank you so much. I am genuinely happy that I could share this information to people, as so many people tend to take their health for granted for such a great price. I hope to hear your thoughts on other health, fitness and strength related concepts. Cheers!

  2. Body weight squat is one of the best physical activities. It can truly help us to builds lean muscle and increase lung power. I also do it daily.back and neck pain bergen county , low back pain bergen county