If you're looking for a challenge that strengthens your body while burning more calories than jogging on a treadmill, straight leg squat thrusts will do the job. This exercise -- commonly called burpees -- emphasizes core stability, hip and leg strength, and coordination. There's no need for fancy, infomercial gadgets. With some space at home or at the corner of the gym, you can add squat thrusts with other body-weight exercises to give yourself a complete workout. No more fighting over machines and free weights!
Straight-Leg Squat Thrust
Stand with your feet about hip-distance apart with your toes pointing forward or slightly outward.
Bend forward and squat down quickly, putting your hands on the floor about shoulder-distance apart.
Kick both legs back behind you so that you are supporting your body on your toes and hands. Keep your head in alignment with your spine, hip and legs like a pushup position.
Hop forward with both legs so that your feet land just beneath your body about hip-distance apart. Keep your hands on the floor in the same position. Stand up to the starting position. Perform two to four sets of eight to 10 reps.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- ExRx.net: Burpee
- You can combine a pushup or a pullup with a burpee for an extra challenge. Do a pushup once you are in the pushup position before you hop forward on both feet. Do a pullup with a pullup bar after you perform one squat thrust. If you are not familiar with squat thrusts, work with a qualified fitness trainer before attempting this on your own.
- Because of the high-intensity nature of this exercise, check with your health care provider before starting any exercise program, especially if you have hypertension, cardiac problems or joint pain.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.