10 Essential Moves for Any Workout

Learn the proper form and technique for these basic bodyweight exercises to prevent injury and better results. (12 Photos)

Jessica Smith on Nov 8, 2012 at 4:45PM

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10 Essential Moves for Any Workout

Vanessa Rogers

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Must Do Move #3: The Squat

Squats are a supreme lower body exercise that engages your entire body, but require your legs and glutes to do most of the work. As with lunges, you’ll want to maintain good form and alignment with this exercise to avoid any joint pain or strain.

How to: Stand with feet slightly wider than hip width, arms down by sides [as shown in photo A]. Bend your knees, hinge at the hips, and lower your body. Push your hips behind you (as if about to sit down into a chair) and reach your arms out in front of your chest to counter your balance [as shown in photo B]. Push down through both feet to stand back up and lower arms.

Form Tip:Your back should stay naturally straight as you lower into your squat. Avoid rounding forward with your chest and shoulders, and keep your knees lined up over (but not past) your toes as they bend.

Make It Easier: Try practicing your squats with a chair – stand in front of the seat and perform your squat, lightly tapping the edge of the chair (or sitting all the way down if necessary) before standing back up.

Make It Harder: For more resistance, try holding onto weights as you squat. There are lots of variations on squats you can try progressing into, including split squats, single-leg squats and jump squats.

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