Updated 13 November 2013

Would you do 30 squats for a free ride?

Commuters in Moscow are being encouraged to do 30 squats in return for a free subway ride.

As part of an initiative to promote exercise and fitness, the metro subway service in Moscow is offering free rides to people who do 30 squats before they get on.
The initiative is part of the city’s promotion of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Commuters are encouraged to drop down and do 30 squats rather than pay the usual 30 rubles for a single ticket. The squats are performed in front of a machine that can tell if they are doing the squats correctly.

The president of the Olympic Games told news agencies the reason behind this unusual project is to get everyone involved and in the mood for the upcoming games. The squats are just one of the projects on the go, others include changing hanging handles on buses into exercise bands and encouraging people to use special bicycles which create electricity to charge cell phones.

Squatting is a basic movement that we're all born with, just look at a toddler when they effortlessly squat down to pick something up. Yet it's unfortunately something many of us lose the ability to do with ease due to our lifestyles which often involve sitting on chairs for hours on end. Love them or loathe them, squats are one of the most effective exercises you can do. It's very important, however, that you do them right to get the most benefit and prevent injury.

How to squat

Summer is here and there's no better exercise to tone your rear than the humble squat. So here's a step-by-step guide on how to do a basic air-squat. 

1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider.
2. Raise your arms straight out in front of you to help keep your balance and slowly sit back and down as if you're sitting down onto a chair.
3. Try to avoid letting your back to round, and try to squat as low as possible, pushing your knees out.
4. Press your weight back into your heels, keeping your heels on the ground and don't come up onto your toes.
5. Keep your core (abdominals) tight and and push through your heels to stand back up.

If your found that difficult, try squatting with a chair or box behind you and reach for it with your bottom, as soon as you feel it, stand back up again. 

Remember, practice makes perfect, so aim for three sets of 10 squats, and then add more reps (12, 15) as you get used to it.

Always remember to focus on your form.

Check out this article for a graphic on how to do a bodyweight squat.

What do you think of this initiative? Would you do a workout for a free ride on the Gautrain or MyCiti Bus?

Read the full article on this initiative here on CNet.




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