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Leg Toning Tuesday: Toe Squat

February 9, 2010

Are you looking for a way to spice up your squats? The toe squat may be just for you if you’re ready to take your squat to the next level.

For those of us doing this for the first time (or second, or third, or maybe 63rd!) it is highly recommended to have a chair, barre, or something sturdy for us to hold onto nearby for support. This is especially important for those of us who may have difficulty with balance exercises. So grab your chair and lets get started!

We want to begin with both feet on the floor about hip-width apart.  As we sink the weight into the heels drop the hips down and hover as if you are hovering over a public toilet seat (ladies, we can definitely visualize this analogy!). With one hand on a chair or a barre and the other arm extended out in front of us, begin by lifting one heel off the ground, balancing on our toes, and then the other. Become comfortable with one heel off the ground at a time before venturing to lifting both heels off the ground. When you are ready, take both heels up and here’s the hard part – don’t let your knees go past your toes. Your weight should be so concentrated in the back of the body and you are hovering so low that you’re feet shouldn’t inch past those toes; this is very important in protecting the knees. Work on maintaining a long, flat, strong spine. Don’t round out the back and hover over the rest of your body. Always work to stand up straighter, even in this position!

*Note:  Another way to try this is to face the back of a chair (or barre) and hold on with two hands. This will help maintain a long, straight back and work on good posture. However, don’t hold on to the chair or barre for dear life; it should be more of an extra support.

We should be to “stand” in this squat position so high on our toes as if we are standing in the highest pair of high heels imaginable! Your calves and quads may be burning the first couple of times but before you know it, you’ll want to strut your stuff and show off those gorgeous legs. MEN – you can do this too, build up those calves and quads! And don’t forget, your hamstrings and glutes are getting quite the workout as well 🙂

When beginning this move, I suggest keeping one hand on a stable surface and the other arm out extended. As we becomem more comfortable and want more of a challenge, try extending both arms out in front of you. You’ll be surprised here how much you are now working your abs as well. Visualize that belly button being retracted back toward your spine; this will help you figure out how to find that center balance within your abs. When the core is engaged, balance becomes easier.

When you are ready to deepen the exercise, start squatting! You can play around with this exercise by alternating the tempo at which you squat and holding the squat for 10 to 20 seconds. Have fun, create your own workout with this simple move, and you are on your way to looking better, feeling better, and living better.

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