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Updated 26 January 2016

UltimateYou Challenge Day 6: Do 50 Squats

Welcome to Day 6 of the Free 30-Day Ultimate You Healthy Habits Challenge brought to you by Sleekgeek and Health24!

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On this 30 day challenge you will receive one task daily to complete in order to help you eat, move, think, and sleep better.

Today’s task is to do 50 squats.

OUCH! We know right?

Well thankfully you can break these 50 squats up throughout the day if you are not advanced. You do not have to do them all in one go. If you are a pro, don’t let us stop you doing more.

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For example, you could do 10 squats first thing in the morning. Another 10 before heading to work. 10 During your lunch break. 10 When you get home. Finally your last set of 10 an hour or two before going to bed.

The squat is a compound, full-body exercise that is vital in strengthening the muscles of the thighs, hips, buttocks, quadriceps, and hamstrings. It also plays a key role in developing core strength and  for strengthening the bones, ligaments, and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body.

It’s a truly functional movement that makes real-life activities easier and also improves your efficiency, mobility, and balance when moving around in general. 

If you need a bit of guidance on the bodyweight squat:

- 1. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, and knees over ankles.

- 2. Roll the shoulders back and down away from the ears. Note: Allowing the back to round (like a turtle’s shell) will cause unnecessary stress on the lower back. It's important to maintain a neutral spine throughout the movement.

- 3. Extend arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down (like your hands are on someone’s shoulders at a 7th grade dance). Or, if it’s more comfortable, pull elbows close to the body, palms facing each other and thumbs pointing up.

- 4. Initiate the movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.

- 5. While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead for a neutral spine.

- 6. The best squats are the deepest ones your mobility allows. Optimal squat depth would be your hips sinking below the knees (again, if you have the flexibility to do so comfortably). Pro tip:Squatting onto a box until the butt gently taps it will be a reminder to squat low.

- 7. Engage core and, with bodyweight in the heels, explode back up to standing, driving through heels. Imagine the feet are spreading the floor (left foot to the left, right foot to the right) without actually moving the feet.

If you can’t complete a full squat comfortably:

- Try doing a box squat where you sit back and down onto your bed or a sturdy chair and then use only your legs to stand back upright again. Try sit down for as short a time as possible - even better don’t rest your complete body weight on the “box” - rather just sit down until you are touching lightly and then stand back upright again.

Mark Sisson has a great squat technique and progression video for absolute beginners here:

If bodyweight squats are too easy:

- Goblet squat (hold a dumbbell, kettlebell, or medicine ball) at the center of your chest and squat down.

- Barbell back squat.

 Stronglifts has some great advice and technique videos on the more advanced and heavier squats here:

JOIN UP

You can sign up for FREE here: Ultimate You 

In case you missed these:

Day 3: List 5 things that you are grateful for

Day 4: No caffeine after 1pm

Day 5: Eat green veggies with dinner

DONE!

See you tomorrow for your next healthy habit.

 
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