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What Is a Bodyweight Squat?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Many weightlifters perform squats while holding weights to maximize the benefits of the exercise. For beginners, however, or for people who want an easy but worthwhile exercise to start a workout routine, the bodyweight squat is a great choice. In order to perform this exercise, it will be important to stretch before and after the workout to prevent injuries. Hydrating throughout the workout is also a good idea. To start the bodyweight squat, the exerciser will stand with his or her feet a little more than hip width apart.

The back should be straight and the shoulders relaxed in the starting position. The exerciser will begin the bodyweight squat motion by lowering the upper body, ensuring the back stays straight, while bending at the knees. It is important to keep balance throughout the motion, so it may be helpful to extend the harms forward when performing the motion. This helps keep the back straight and the body balanced throughout the motion. Once the knees have been bent to about ninety degrees, the exerciser should hold the position momentarily, then return to the starting position. Some people choose to interlace the hands behind the head to add more difficulty to the bodyweight squat.

Bodyweight squats use only the body for resistance.
Bodyweight squats use only the body for resistance.

Unlike other types of squats, the bodyweight squat relies on the exerciser's bodyweight to provide resistance. This means the exercise is not adjustable in terms of how strenuous it is; if the person doing the exercise decides he or she is not getting enough benefit from the bodyweight squat, he or she may choose to add dumbbells to the exercise. One dumbbell will be held in each hand during the motion of the squat, and in some cases, the exerciser may choose to perform a curl while squatting. This exercise is recommended for more advanced users only.

Another type of squat involves the use of a device known as a squat rack. This large metal frame will help steady a barbell during the squatting motion and lock it in place should the exerciser lose control of it at any point. The barbell is rested on the shoulders, and the user will hold the barbell with both hands as well. The starting position of this exercise is usually low, already in the squat position. The user will then lift the barbell with his or her hands and shoulders, then return to the lower starting position and hold there momentarily until he or she is ready to perform the next lift.

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    • Bodyweight squats use only the body for resistance.
      By: Monkey Business
      Bodyweight squats use only the body for resistance.