Most of the people that come see me are overweight and out of shape, which is actually which I prefer. I like to see progress on people not only with weight loss but also their strength and conditioning.
I love hearing from clients that after a period of training with me that they are able to once again do activities that they had to stop doing because of weight gain/muscle wasting.
I know that a lot of exercises are important, and I do give my clients a variety of exercises that work the whole body, but there is one exercise that stands above them all. It can be done anywhere, and even if you don’t workout regularly, you should do this exercise regularly.
What is this exercise?
Squatting is a basic function that everyone should be able to do. This is why all of my clients no matter how heavy they are or out of shape they are will start out with some variation of it and progress from there.
There is ALWAYS some version of a squat in my clients programs.
The squat works all the major muscle groups of the leg and also works the core.
The squat is also a functional exercise in that it carries over into activities of daily living.
For people who are overweight and out of shape, getting around, getting up and down off a chair or off the ground, going up steps, etc. is a major challenge and some people can’t even do these things.
If you cannot do these things then your quality of life is already being compromised.
The good news is that it does not take long to gain strength in these muscles so that you can do your activities of daily living easily.
I would start off slow and do 2-3 sets of 10-30 reps 2-3x/week.
For most people that are out of shape and overweight I would start off with this progression:
- hands in front and slowly lower sit on a chair, then stand up
- hands on head and slowly sit on chair, then stand up
- hands on head and lightly sit on chair then stand up
- finally remove the chair and do a full squat
- Weighted squat
I would only move up the progressions once you can do 20 reps at that level.
Some people will need to start at a higher height than a chair and slowly lower the height, thus making it harder.
It is important to pull the hips backward and keep chest out, thus keeping a flat, neutral back.
How deep should you go? Well this will depend on strength, flexibility, limb length, injuries, etc.
The goal it get to at least thighs parallel to ground but some people will be able to get much deeper.
So if you find that you cannot do simple daily activities because of poor leg strength then at least add in some squats a few times a week. For the little time it will take, it will pay off huge dividends in quality of life.
See video below for weighted version.
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