A squat thrust is a calisthenic exercise that is similar to a pushup or sit-up and is usually done for the purpose of building muscle, lower body strength, aerobic fitness, and for toning the upper body. The lower body muscles that are targeted by the squat thrust workout are the quads, gluteus, and hamstring. For the upper body, there usually is benefit to the triceps as well as the pectorals.
Unlike exercises that require some form of equipment to be accomplished, the only things required for a squat thrust is a floor, desire, and comfortable clothing since bending and a high degree of movement is required. This means that whether a person is at home, on vacation, or even in the office, this workout can be done at any convenient time. In schools, the squat thrust often is a basic part of physical education testing that gauges the overall fitness of students.
As with any workout regimen, it is generally recommended that a person warms up cold muscles for five to ten minutes so that the body is not simply thrown into strenuous movement. Brisk walking, riding a stationary bicycle, or light jogging on a treadmill can help warm up cold muscles. For squat thrusts, it also can be important to include some stretching before beginning in order to prevent pulled muscles and other injuries. Correct form usually is important in both the warm-up and actual exercise program to ensure maximum benefit and to avoid injury.
Once the warm-up has been completed, the actual mechanics of the exercise are relatively simple, even if being attempted for the first time. Because of the moves that are going to be made, there can also be variations that can be inserted as desired. This can help to vary the challenge of the workout while keeping it less repetitive.
The basic steps of the squat thrust begin with the body in a standing position. Arms are held down at the sides of the body. The body then goes into a squatting position with the arms shoulder-width apart and the palms placed flat on the floor.
In one smooth motion using the drive in the legs, the feet are thrown back until the body is in the push-up or high plank position. Next, the feet jump back underneath the body so that the body is back in the squatting position. Lastly, the body moves back to the standing position and the process is repeated for 15 to 20 repetitions.