The ultimate squat challenge

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The original squat should always be a move that features in your workouts, but sometimes shaking things up a little can help you achieve new goals, break through plateaus and add extra challenges.

For those who find regular squat technique tough, this is the ultimate squat challenge and handy way to work those same muscle groups. ‘Single-leg movements are
known to help you make big strength gains and will also improve your balance and posture as you target the quads and glutes,’ explains lead trainer at Reach Fitness, Richard Tidmarsh.

Finding your balance and controlling the movement might take a little practice, but like they say, practice makes perfect. ‘Control tends to improve quickly, and you can then progress from using just your bodyweight to holding dumbbells, all the way through to using a barbell inside a rack to keep things moving forward,’ adds Richard. When it comes to lifting weights and working your lower body, inching your way to constant improvements is key to gaining strength and mastering the move.

Split squat

Areas trained: bottom, quads 

Technique

Stand facing away from a box that’s 15-30cm from the floor. Too high, and your back will arch. Place the ball of your right foot onto the box behind you and your left foot into a lunge position, a good distance away from the box.

Keeping your body in a strong upright position, bend your left knee, keeping your heel flat on
the floor, until your back knee gently touches the floor.

Push back up to the start and repeat.

Beginners should start with eight reps on each side for three to four sets, to get used to the movement pattern. Once you’ve mastered this, hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, increasing the weights as you get stronger. Advanced lifters can work inside a rack and backload a barbell.

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The ultimate squat challenge

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Paige Hathaway

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