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“Bodyweight training is the foundation of all workouts,” says Spartan SGX L2 coach and obstacle specialist Courtney Waterbury. “If you can’t master moving your body, you shouldn’t load it with weights.”
Another big benefit of bodyweight moves—especially simple ones—is that they’re perfect for doing anytime, anywhere. Seriously. Do a few as you ride the elevator, brush your teeth, whatever, and you’ll easily blow through 100-plus reps in a single day. You’ll also have to give it little to no thought. That’s a win-win.
The Bodyweight Squat: How to Do It RIGHT
Waterbury’s exercise of choice: the squat. Yes, it might sound simple, but that’s part of its beauty. Plus, haphazardly dropping and standing up again is a lot different than performing a solid squat with proper total-body engagement. So don’t undersell the importance of working on form—while it’s one of the fundamental exercises to any Spartan’s trainings, it’s frequently botched.
That changes now with this tutorial from Waterbury:
4 Steps to Master the Bodyweight Squat
1. Stand tall with your feet spread hip-width apart and anchored into, and gripping, the floor. Keep your weight balanced between your heels and the balls of your feet. Brace your core to point your ribs straight down toward the floor. You’ll feel the dip in your lower back flatten out some. Go ahead and squeeze the rest of your body while you’re at it.
2. Keeping your back in neutral and maintaining total-body tension, initiate the squat by hinging your hips back behind you. At this point, your shins should still be vertical.
3. Now finish off the squat by bending your knees to sink your torso straight down toward the floor. Descend as far as your range of motion comfortably can without causing your heels to lift from the floor or your back to fall out of neutral.
4. Drive through your heels and midfoot to return to standing, still keeping all of your muscles, from head to toe, engaged.