December 18, 2015

Christmas and New Year is Coming: Just Enough Time to Fit in a Squat Challenge

In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is on its way. The John Lewis ad has long since launched, copious amounts of chocolates sit temptingly on the shelves of the supermarkets and radio stations are sneaking Mariah Carey into the playlists. It’s gone past the period when we can quietly ignore the countdown.

The festive season is, notoriously, a time for excess. We eat, drink and be merry with our friends and family members and then often regret it afterwards. For some people there may already be a grim sense of reality that this period will see our diet and fitness regimes go out of the window.

Yet there is still, even this close to the big day, time to get yourself in shape so that you can feel good about your body and approach Christmas in shape. Squats are a great way to tone your bottom, tummy and thighs in one fell swoop and you can take on a short, sharp burst of them.

Take on this swift squat challenge and you won’t feel guilty about enjoying your sprouts…

Simple but effective plan

Firstly, you need to pick four squats. Don’t focus on one, repeating this time and again won’t give you the variety you need to be toned up in time for the turkey and, anyway, you’ll be fed up of this sooner than you are of Slade.

We’d recommend a basic and sumo squat – simple to learn, harder to master and repeat – alongside two other variations. Pick others that suit you – maybe one with a leg kick, if this is an area of focus for you, and a jump squat to build in a fuller, more explosive movement.

How to handle your four festive squats

  1. Basic squat: Stand with your feet touching. Hold your hands out in front of your chest and bend your knees. Lower your hips and try to get to a position in which your thighs are parallel with the floor. Then rise back up to standing to complete the rep.
  2. Sumo squat: Stand with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing out. With your hands in front of your chest bend your knees, once again bringing your thighs parallel with the floor. Rise back up and repeat.
  3. Leg kick: With your feet parallel, stand with your legs shoulder width apart. Hold your arms in front – fists up and elbows down to help balance. Then bend your knees and lower your hips. Rise back up and when straight kick your left leg out to the side. Then repeat, alternating legs as you go.
  4. Jump squat: Stand with your hands behind your head, fingers touching. Pull your elbows back until they’re in line with your body. Dip your knees into a low squat and then leap as high as you can, being careful how you land. When you do land you should immediately go back into a squat and repeat – keeping a continuous movement through all of your reps.

Start slow, build up

Start on day one with just five reps of each. Gradually add in one or two extra reps every day (depending on how long you have left) – giving yourself roughly three days off during December to allow your body a rest.

By Christmas Eve – or maybe the day before to be fair – you should be able to manage 50 of each, taking you to the magic figure of 200. By this time, you’ll be fit enough to handle the festivities and, after a couple of days break, can get right back into your simple-but-effective fitness regime and kick off the new year ready to push on for an even better physique.

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