The countdown is on and kids will be out of school before we know it, if not already. If you are a mom, like me, you know that the summertime can make you question how you are going to get in your workouts and stay devoted to your fitness. It’s a time when you need to be more flexible than ever, because schedules change daily and it can be hard to come up with a solid routine. Because of this, over five years ago, I created the best solution ever, my Summer Squat Challenge. It has proven to be such a huge success at not only keeping those booty goals in check but also keeping people focused on their goals in a fun and realistic way. I am all about keeping things realistic and fun and this was the perfect way to do just that. The challenge consists of 100 squats a day, every day of summer. The beautiful thing is you can split them up however you wish so there are no excuses and anyone can join, all levels and ages. My kids have actually been doing them with me each year. Started in my baby front pack and now do them by my side.
No matter what comes up in the day, you can always commit to 100 squats. The Summer Squat Challenge and this literally have changed my summer game and the game of so many, from all over the world. Why the squat, you may ask? Well, because squats can be done anywhere and they are SO effective. I call them the magical movement because if you do them consistently, you will magically start to see results!
Sure, squats are great for glutes, but they also work your entire lower body, core, and in some of our variations, your upper body too. You can literally work the entire body, from head to toe, using a variety of squat movements. You’ll not only build your booty, but also tone and tighten your quads, inner and outer thighs, calves, trunk and sculpt those arms and shoulders. With the specific attention to your core, you will be working your abdominals with each squat. They are the perfect movement to pick up your heart rate, increase metabolism and become a fat-burning machine. Squats are simply magic!
Nice round, firm, toned glutes— we all want them, right!? The gluteals— your butt muscles— are the largest and strongest muscles in the body. Their function is hip extension, or driving the upper legs backward. It is super important to make sure these muscles are getting their workout. So many things we do engage our glutes, from walking, running, jumping, stepping and climbing. Lunges, leg lifts and squats are all great for exercising the glutes. The squat is a very common exercise that can be performed in so many different ways. It is the only exercises that will work 75 percent of your muscles with one, single movement! The squat can be performed anywhere and typically can be done from little to no weight and in so many different ways. You definitely want to incorporate the squat into your workouts, but be sure that you are doing them right and focusing on proper perfect form!
This summer, we will be rocking 95 days of squats and I will be sharing 95 squat variations— yes, 95 variations!! Here are three of my favorites, starting with the traditional squat.
- The Traditional (Regular) Squat: You want to make sure you master the traditional squat before moving onto other variations. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, with your weight on your heels. Keep your abs tight and your shoulders squarely over your hips. Hold your arms at your chest and then sit back and down as if you were going to sit on a bench or chair. Keep your back straight while you straighten your legs and rise up to the top of the squat and repeat. The key is to go as low as you can with proper form. Never allow your knees to go over your toes throughout the squat. Place all emphasis in your heels while you accelerate from the bottom to the top of the squat. Squeeze your glutes throughout the entire movement, especially as you rise back up to the starting position. This exercise can be performed with or without weight.
- Sumo Squat with Calf Raise: With a wide stance and toes turned out, hold a dumbbell between your legs, keeping your chest up. Lower yourself as far as your flexibility and balance allows. Drive back up using your heels, and then at the top of the squat, pop up onto your toes to perform a calf raise. Repeat, lowering your heels as you drop into the bottom of the squat.
- Ski Squat or Wall Squat: Squatting against the wall is known as the ski squat. Step about two to three feet away from a wall, taking a natural stance, with your feet shoulder-width distance apart, and then lean back onto the wall. Slide down the wall until your glutes are just slightly lower than your knees. Hold for a second or two, engage your glutes, and then return to the starting position. Repeat by sliding down the wall again until you have completed your reps. This exercise can also be done with an exercise ball behind your back.
Remember, as you perform these variations of the squat, form is KEY!
Gina’s Top Tips for Performing a Perfect Squat
• Keep your eyes focused forward.
• Don’t lean forward or let your heels come off the ground. Toes can, but keep the heels planted.
• Keep your chest up, shoulders back. Posture is KEY.
• Don’t let your knees travel forward over your toes or turn inward as you lower or rise.
• Keep your belly button sucked in toward your spine as you stand back up, being careful not to arch your back.
• Keep your core engaged at all times and in the forefront of your mind as you perform each exercise.Join me this summer as we tackle a NEW squat variation to keep your head in the game and booty responding.100 squats, all summer long – are you with me?Sign up and join the squat fun here: https://bit.ly/2EYwaHl
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Next week, I will be sharing the 10 reasons why I LOVE