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Foundational Movement 1: Squats

This is an excerpt from HIIT Advantage, The by Irene Lewis-McCormick.

To use squats as part of a HIIT program, you need to understand why they are done and how to perform them. Squats are foundational moves because they are part of everyday activities in which body weight is evenly distributed through both feet (e.g., bending down to pick something up off the floor, lowering into a chair or onto a toilet seat). Additionally, because squats require a significant contribution of lower-body muscle and joint action, they can use a lot of energy. Therefore, a variety of squats are presented to help you achieve appropriate overload in your HIIT workouts.


Basic Squat





Stand with feet parallel and slightly wider than hip width and toes turned slightly out (see figure a). Maintaining an erect spine, lower the tailbone down toward the floor, pressing the hips back and maintaining a neutral neck with the chin parallel to the floor (see figure b).The knees may or may not pass the foot, but they should track with the second and third toe of each foot. Flex the knees and lower the body down as low as you can while keeping an erect spine without feeling any pain in any joint, including the knees and hips. The goal is to get the thighs parallel to the floor, while distributing your weight evenly between both feet. You will have a maximal hip hinge here. When you are ready, press through the feet back up to a full upright stance.


Squat to Heel Raise





Stand with feet parallel and slightly wider than hip width and toes turned slightly out. Maintaining an erect spine, lower the tailbone down toward the floor, pressing the hips back and maintaining a neutral neck with your chin parallel to the floor (see figure a). Rise to an upright stance and continue the movement by rising onto the balls of the feet, lifting the heels off the floor (see figure b). Be sure to stay aligned in the foot when lifting the heels and balancing on the balls of the feet; do not drop the heels out or in.


Squat Jump





Stand with feet parallel and slightly wider than hip width and toes turned slightly out. Maintaining an erect spine, lower the tailbone down toward the floor, pressing the hips back and maintaining a neutral neck with your chin parallel to the floor (see figure a). Rise up to an upright stance, and add a power move by jumping straight up (see figure b). Land softly and immediately lower back down into the squat and repeat.

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Learn more about The HIIT Advantage: High-Intensity Workouts for Women.