2 New Bodyweight Squats

In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to PROPERLY perform bodyweight squats, plus 2 new squat variations to try.

But before we get into that, I want to talk about something important

I teach a lot of exercises and how to perform them correctly on this blog, but first and foremost, I am a STUDENT OF THE GAME.

I may be more experienced than you (or maybe not, there are a lot of great trainers and coaches that visit here) when it comes to S&C, but one thing I’ll never, ever do is consider myself a ‘master’.

I believe that once you consider yourself to be a ‘master’ at something, it’s easy for you to think you know it all and stop learning and growing.

bruce lee quote

OK with that said, let’s go:

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Do You Know What The 5 Myths of Squatting Are? » Patricia MacKinnon5 Biggest Myths On How to Squat — powerDOJOFredykiteartistPaullyM Recent comment authors
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[…] you’re doing a bodyweight squat, you don’t need much core stability whereas if you’re doing a 1 rep max, you need a lot and […]

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[…] you’re doing a bodyweight squat, you don’t need much core stability whereas if you’re doing a 1 rep max, you need a lot and […]

Fredy
Fredy

hey eric this is a question about your bullet proof back system that i just bought… i do at home training… my biggest question is for the lat pull down is there an alternative to doing that specific exercise… because i dont have a pull down machine is there an exercise i can substitute instead ?

Eric

Fredy,

Can you get rubber cables that can hook into a door? Those work. The lat pulldowns are huge for the back – both for strengthening and decompression.

Fredy
Fredy

would negative pullups be the same thing ? because ive got one of those pull up machines that hook into your door frame ? but yeah i will go get some of those rubber bands

Eric

Yup -ve pullups is same kinda thing.

PaullyM
PaullyM

So to summarize, here’s what I want to hear from you: How the arch activation exercise went How the bodyweight squats went while directing force through the heel, ball of foot and big toe If there are any bodyweight exercises you want more variations for (or specific needs you want addressed with bodyweight exercises only) Thanks in advance for any feedback you share! Hi Eric, thanks for the vid – great breakdown of the squat! My feedback: (1) i’m still trying to master the arch activation exercise. It’s more challenging for my left foot – my left foot is flatter than my right and has been since childhood (2) the technique does seem to make squats feel more ‘grounded’, esp at the lowest range of motion (3) due to the uneven arches in my feet, i’m not sure whether i’d be better off doing this exercise with shoes on and… Read more »

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[…] made this video because of a Comment on my last post from my buddy cork_boi who asked for some exercises to combat the effects of tens of thousands of […]

Dominick
Dominick

Would I be in the ball park by saying basically this is what the old karate masters taught on how to anchor yourself to the ground by grabbing the ground with your toes?

carlos
carlos

Hi Eric!
Thanks for your interesting vision of this exercise

receive my best regards from Buenos Aires

Eric

Carlos my friend! Welcome to my blog. I would love to visit B.A. one day – maybe I’ll look you up. 🙂

Tim

Tried it out. I kept finding myself lifting the outer edge of my foot when trying to lift the 4 small toes off the ground. My right foot is better at this. Interesting because i’m a lefty.

Eric

You’re a weirdo then! lol j/k actually my left is better and I’m a righty too. 🙂

Tony Ricci
Tony Ricci

Good stuff Eric;

The medial arch activator is a new one to me—and I am curious how you came about finding it? I’ve noticed a high number of even elite level MMA fighters whose arches collapse under load–obvious in bare feet–and I’m wondering if this sort of arch activation (posterior tibialis?) pattern would help?

The shifting squat is another “Duh, why didn’t I think of that” answer that I like.

To echo another commenter’s post/question: I’ve definitely fallen for Hindu Squats and do those fairly regularly. What’s your take on those? They definitely seem to make my knees feel better and appear to provide some dynamic flexibility to the ankles in the bent knee position but that’s just my thought.

Eric

My beautiful fiancee is a physio so I was asking her some stuff about strengthening the foot and she showed it to me, then I went and integrated it into my squats and voila – a new video for ya’ll. 🙂

Yes, lots of people’s arches in general collapse under load – blame puffy shoes and sitting on your ass all day.

Hindu squats will feel better because there’s less motion at the hips and they’re more quad dominant (see my earlier reply to your fellow Hindu squatter). But we want to make sure we have great mobility and strength in through the hips to keep us healthy – immobile hips is a precursor to lots of back and knee pain.

TL
TL

Eric, The arch activation exercise is giving me fits — might be the congenital flat feet I’m working with. I can’t ‘figure out’ how to dig my big toe in and lift up the others. The best I can accomplish is to sort of stiffen the big toe and sorta lift up the whole outside edge of my foot. I’ll keep playing with it. I’m definitely feeling tension through the medial arch with whatever it is I am doing. A question — when I read ‘ball of the foot’ I think of the pads at the base of the toes across the whole foot (big toe to little toe). But with this activation exercise (which I’m not quite capable of doing) the little toe side tends to lose pressure. Is this a flaw? When I tried squatting with this cue here in my office, I experience the opposite — my… Read more »

Eric

TL – when I talk about ball of the foot here I’m talking about the big ball just below the big toe.

That’s the thing – a lot of people lose pressure on the ball of the foot because of a weak arch, so the body defaults and ‘rolls over’ to the outside of the foot, where it’s supported by bones… But that sucks because then you don’t develop strength through your arch that you can transfer to things like sprints and knockout punches!

cork_boi
cork_boi

Yo,
1&2 went well: 14 years ago training tiger Kung Fu, our Sifu had us do 100 squats every day plus hold deep horse stances. We worked up amazing endurance, but in retrospect I wish I had spent more time building strength and power (sprints and free weights) than only bodyweight excercises.
Everyone does push-ups, sit ups and squats but I would like to see antagonistic exercises to push ups, sit ups and squats.
Years of doing 50-100 push ups every day has rounded my shoulders and I ‘d like to learn some bodyweight exercises to build up the opposite muscles.
Stuff to help posture too would be great.
Thanks Eric – not long to go now, good luck!

Eric

Great idea to counterbalance the often overworked patterns!

kiteartist
kiteartist

A great exercise I have used over the past few years to help with upper body anterior/posterior balance is the inverted row. Work up to 4 sets of 10-12 reps. Then add variations, of towel grip, curl grip, feet on a bosu ball, 1 legged, feet elevated on a stability ball, etcetera. Good luck.

Ben
Ben

oops better answer the question too.
Arch exercise went well, needs work though. Adding this to the BW squat felt more stable.
handstand push ups, chin ups

Ben
Ben

How will the type of shoes you wear make a difference to the arch activation squats? I never do squats on running shoes.

Eric

If you wear shoes with a big arch support or god forbid, orthotics then doing this exercise will be hard because the arch muscles don’t have to work…

It’s like wearing a back belt – your coreuscles don’t have to work so much so they get sleepy and atrophy. I’d only recommend wearing a back belt if going for a competition lift or PB or something uber heavy.

But since you squat barefoot you’re good to go. I either train barefoot or in Nike Free shoes so my feet get stronger with the rest of my body.

jeff mann

Interesting stuff Eric! I was able to do the arch exercise fairly easily with both feet. It took a few tries at first. I’m definitely going to keep working at it. After doing it just a few times my feet were a bit tired/sore! Thanks!

Paulius
Paulius

What about pistols? Any of you do them?

Eric

A good exercise but hard to recommend to most people as they can really stress the lumbar spine and discs because most people don’t have the flexibility to do them with a neutral spine. Myself included as such I do them rarely and instead do other variations that spare my back.

Eddy
Eddy

Thanks for the video Eric, great info as always. Have always used the activation technique when squatting as it seriously helps when you reach ‘the hole’ when squatting and I found that it works for deadlift technique also. I’ve never seen the shifting squat before but it looks great so will definately be trying that out during my next workout. I would like to see a few pull up/chin up variations personally as they are my favourite exercise and are just simply one the best exercises around.

Kris
Kris

Great vid eric! I had a hard time getting the activation exercise but I will keep working on it the next few days. I really like the weight shift squat. Working my way up to 1 leg squats! As for the variation….. I’m sure you know double the amount of exercises so this is a tough one. I did just read about the wall walk, where you set your self up in a hand stand on a wall and walk out without letting your feet hit the ground then walk back up. I would like to see a variation to build up to that and something after that gets easy (if thats possible).

Thosh

Hey Eric thanks for the vid, I never seen the shifting squat before, it seems dope, I’m gonna start using it.

What do you think of the “Hindu Squat”?

Eric

It’s a good exercise for switching it up but I think 80-90% of all squats should be more ‘grounded’ to develop the glutes/hams more as most people need as much flute work as possible because we sit in our asses most of the day!