Strength Train With Squats

This is definitely a total-body exercise. You will sculpt and define all of the muscles in your lower body (buttocks, hamstrings, quads) and your upper body (shoulders, back, chest, biceps and triceps). You will also improve your coordination and stability while using your core muscles (abs/back).

The Move

Set-up: Stand tall with feet hip-distance apart, hands beside shoulders and palms upturned, weights in hands. Engage abdominal muscles by pulling your navel toward your spine.

Beginners: focus on good form; no weights.

Intermediate: 3 to 5 pounds.

Advanced: 5 to 10 pounds.

Step 1: Send your hips back toward the ground behind you by pushing your body weight into your heels. Hands stay beside shoulders.

Form check: Make sure your knees do not push over your toes; keep your chest up, look straight ahead and keep your abs in tight.

Step 2: Engage your abdominal muscles and drive through your heels (squeezing your buttocks/gluteus) to push back up to a standing position. Engage your abdominal muscles and then press the weights straight over head (shoulder press).

Repeat Step 1.

Repetitions -- Beginner: 8-15. Intermediate: 15-20. Advanced: 15- 25.

Form check: Be sure to keep your abs contracted, especially when pushing the weight overhead. Be careful not to look at your knees when you stand up. Always keep a slight bend in your knees.


Jeanette Jenkins, founder and president of the Hollywood Trainer, is a fitness instructor at Crunch and Sports Club L.A. For more information, this exercise is demonstrated on the Hollywood Trainer Ultimate Cross Training and Pilates DVDs at www.thehollywoodtrainer.com.

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