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What it’s good for Strengthens all the “sit­ting and stand­ing” muscles of the leg and but­tocks. Especially good for knee-​muscle con­di­tion­ing. Everyday bene­fits include:

  • Lowering down to pick some­thing up off the floor
  • Picking up any­thing heavy, such as a chair or piece of fur­niture, to move them around
  • Picking up a small child or animal
  • Putting things into or get­ting them out of a low oven or cup­board
  • Putting plugs in sock­ets
How often to do it Daily
Equipment you’ll need A chair-​back for bal­ance sup­port

Standing with hands resting on a chair-back at start of exercise

  • Stand side-​on or in front of a chair-​back, just close enough to put your fin­gers on it if you need bal­ance sup­port
  • Place your feet quite wide apart (between hip-​width and shoulder-​width)
  • Lightly draw in your lower abdom­in­als, push your bot­tom back a bit and lower it down, let­ting your knees bend as you go
  • Go down only as far as your knees feel OK (which means, no pain), hold­ing there for a count of 3
  • Focus on keep­ing your knees point­ing dir­ectly over your big toes, not inwards, out­wards or wob­bling around
  • Your weight should be on your heels, not your toes
  • Push through your feet and squeeze your bot­tom to push you up again stead­ily, under con­trol
  • Rest briefly then repeat

Aim for 10 repeats in one go

Bendung knees to squat down, sitting bottom backTIPS
♦ If you feel unsteady, use the chair for bal­ance sup­port but try to avoid grip­ping on – just use a light touch. As you get stead­ier, try without the chair sup­port
♦ Keep your eyes look­ing straight ahead and chin level through­out
♦ Focus on lower­ing your bot­tom rather than push­ing it back­wards. Your spine should stay neut­ral to slight anterior tilt (see pel­vic tilts)
♦ Your knees may creak on the way down. And they may feel uncom­fort­able. This is OK – but pain is not. If it feels too intense, start over and only squat down half as much. You will still be doing valu­able strength­en­ing work and over time will be able to deepen the move­ment

Cannot do this at all? Try Sitting and stand­ing instead. If your knees are the prob­lem, try spe­cific knee strength­en­ing instead.

Varying the exer­cise for more chal­lenge

Once you can do 10 good qual­ity squats, you need to make the exer­cise harder to carry on strength­en­ing. Try the pro­gres­sions below.

The pro­gres­sions

1. Increase the length of hold to 5 seconds per squat

2. Increase the num­ber of repeats to 15 without rest

3. Lower the depth of the squat a little

4. Squat without any bal­ance sup­port

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