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Workout of the week: The Squat-Sit-Stand

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

If you're able, make sure your routines include what many experts consider to be the best exercise in the world: a set of Squat-Sit-Stands...they build lower-body strength and rev up your metabolism faster than any other single movement. The reason I don’t just use the word “squat” is because apparently many people do squats with improper form and end up injuring knees or back (knees should never go past toes), and nothing derails fitness faster than an injury. However, everyone knows how to sit down and then stand up correctly, right? You can lower and lift yourself using legs only (with arms akimbo) or you can put your hands on your thighs or the arms of a chair for a boost as you stand.

Take 30–60 seconds to do a set every time you go to the bathroom and keep increasing the numbers as you get stronger; a toilet with a closed lid or a dining or desk chair (no wheels) is a perfect height for most people. Do sets during ads on TV, when on hold on the phone, or when you need a computer break—anywhere and anytime you can and the more the better.

In addition to daily visits to the loo, identify recurring events and make them a trigger to do a set, like the arrival of the mail or hearing a nearby siren at a certain time every day; any regular occurrence in your environment can serve as a prompt. A set for you may be three or ten or thirty—you want to do enough that you feel you’re making an effort, but not like you’re going to pass out.

You may decide on “quick sets” of, say, five or ten that you do most of the time, but then once or twice a day you do 15 or 30 or 50. Figure out the right number for your current fitness level and then get moving. In a world of gadgets and increasing complication, this sounds way too simple, but take these words at face value...they are not secret code. To be clear: “squat” means stick your butt out as you bend your knees; “sit” means put your backside down on a chair, bench, or closed toilet seat; “stand” means stand up; “repeat” means do it again. Try it—this one move can work miracles. Seriously—it’s amazing!


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