Weekend Challenge: Lower Body Strengthening Squat And Balance Improver
This weekend’s exercise enhances balance by strengthening muscles in the legs, hips, and core. You can customize it by upping the difficulty depending on your fitness level; in fact, you can even combine the levels of difficulty within one session. And it’s all done with a simple chair.
This exercise’s adaptability and simplicity make it easy to add it to your regular bone-building routine. And if you like this move as much as I did, you’ll definitely want to include it!
We’ve been receiving emails from Savers who have sustained falls in the past and wish to improve their balance so as to avoid falling in the future. This weekend’s exercise is a good way to do just that. You’ll be using a chair, so you needn’t fear to lose your balance. And the muscles worked are the same ones involved in running and walking, so gait and balance are both improved.
Even if you haven’t had a fall in the past, improving your balance through exercise is essential for avoiding a fall in the future.
In addition to enhancing balance, the Lower Body Strengthening Squat And Balance Improver also works the following muscles to stimulate bone growth in the legs and hips:
This four-part muscle on the top of your thigh is very important for building bone density in the femur, stabilizing the knee joint, and promoting coordination and balance. Three of the “quads” – the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and vastus intermedius – connect the knee with the femur at various points. But the fourth quad, the rectus femoris, originates at the ilium at the top of the pelvis. So it’s a key player in building hip bone density and promoting pelvic alignment.
These are your buttocks muscles, and most exercise regimens target them for the sake of appearance. But the glutes are about so much more than “firming up” your behind. As the largest and heaviest muscle in the body, this three-part muscle literally allows you to stand upright. Think about it – animals that go about on all fours don’t have a substantial set of buttocks muscles like humans do.
The glutes’ location in your body is also revealing. They are located in and around your pelvis, the very center of your body (your belly is not your “halfway point”; your hips are). And they are indeed central to your bone health and overall health – you use them in some capacity every time you move, so they are in use almost continually.
However, in a movement-starved environment that’s sadly common in modern times, the glutes become weak. This not only has a negative effect on balance, but it sets you up for injury. Other muscles, particularly in the legs, must compensate for weak glutes, setting the stage for injuries to these compensatory muscles. The muscle group that is the first to “step in” when the glutes are weak are the hamstrings, which we’re going to look at next.
The term “hamstrings” refers to both the muscles in the back of your thighs and the tendons that attach them to your femora. The hamstrings begin at the base of your buttocks, so you can see how they would naturally take over for malfunctioning glutes.
Unlike the glutes and quadriceps, the hamstrings are engaged primarily with “power” activities like running, climbing, jumping, or squatting more so than while walking. But the hamstrings’ vital importance in movement can be elucidated by the term “hamstrung,” which is synonymous with disability.
This weekend’s exercise makes you use the hamstrings the way they are designed to be used and strengthens them.
Nearly all movement involves the core muscles. Whether movement originates in the core or passes through it, the core is involved regardless.
The glutes are considered part of the core, as are the pelvic floor muscles, diaphragm, abdominals, obliques, and the erector spinae (which run along the spine from the skull to the hips). Even the trapezius and the latissimus dorsi, muscles of the upper back, are considered core muscles – although to a lesser extent.
You need a strong core for everyday activities, from bathing to gardening; even deep breathing and good posture require a strong core. You need a strong core to build bone in the spine and hips, too, and of course, you must have a functional core for proper balance.
You can work all of these muscles with today’s exercise, so here’s how to do it.
All you need is a chair for this exercise. A hard chair works best – not a recliner or cushioned chair – and while you can do this at home or in the office, make sure you don’t use an office chair with wheels.
- Sit forward on the edge of the chair, both feet flat on the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle (or as close as you can get).
- Extend one leg forward, placing your heel on the ground. Your toes will be pointing straight up.
- With your hands up and off the chair (bending your elbows and holding your hands up in front of you is a good position), lean forward and stand up on one leg, supporting yourself with your extended leg. If balance is a significant issue, feel free to keep your hands on the chair seat for support.
- Lower yourself back down onto the chair, leading with your buttocks and bending forward at the hips.
- Repeat this standing and sitting motion 10 to 15 times (or as many as you can do comfortably), and then switch legs for another set of 10 to 15.
For more of a challenge, try this exercise with the heel of the extended leg lifted a few inches off the ground. This is quite a bit more difficult, so as I mentioned above, you can alternate between the basic and advanced versions.
If you really want a challenge (and your balance is stable), you can even try this without the chair. Make sure that you stand next to something you could grab, in case you lose your balance.
We recommend following up with these Weekend Challenges:
Like these previous challenges and the moves in the Densercise™ Epidensity Training System, this weekend’s challenge does not require any special equipment. It uses a common household item, and many challenges and “Densercises” do not use any item at all. At the Save Institute, we know that regular exercise and clinical nutrition are essential for rebuilding and renewing your bones. And we also understand that your commitment and motivation to exercise may falter if expensive equipment, gym memberships are required.
On the contrary, we love to share exercises (and “Densercises”) that can be done anywhere, anytime. Exercising to build your bones does not have to be complicated or expensive to be effective!
Take Exercising For Your Bones to the Next Level!
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Did you like the Lower Body Strengthening Squat And Balance Improver? Did you try any of the more advanced levels? As always, I love to hear from the community and like to encourage conversations between Savers, so feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment below.
Have a great weekend!