Today’s Workout: Push press squat strengthens back

Marlo Alleva More Content Now
Marlo Alleva demonstrates a push press squat. [SCOTT WHEELER/THE LEDGER]

How important is your back? Seriously ... is it on your weekly fitness list? If not, why? Maybe you’ve had an injury or a few aches that make you shy away . Or is it simply an area that you just don’t look at, out of sight, out of mind.

Whatever the reason or excuse, our back strength is just as important as our core integrity. It all works together to keep our bodies functioning from the trunk out.

There are many exercises we do that include multiple areas, more importantly, our back.

Our move today is a push press squat. It will work your lower body and the added press will work your back.

This exercise is simple for all levels of fitness. And all you need is a medium hand weight or plate.

To begin, hold the weight in both hands, tucked in closely to your chest. Place your feet just outside of hip width. Holding your chest tall and engaging your core, you are ready to move.

Proceed to sit into a regular squatting motion, lowering your rear end and bending in the knees, keeping their placement behind your toes. Once you reach the lowest point in your squat, begin to return to a standing position, all while extending your arms up and overhead holding your weight. It is key to keep your neck neutral and your shoulders back and down on the presswhile keeping your back engaged.

As soon as you reach your fullest extension overhead, return your hand weight back into your chest and return to a squatting position.

Give yourself at least eight to 10 of these push presses per set, for at least three sets.

If you have back restrictions, lighten your hand weight or use no weights at all but continue through the motions. If you need more intensity, increase the amount of weight you are pushing overhead.

— Marlo Alleva, an instructor at Gold’s Gym and group fitness coordinator at Fontaine-Gills YMCA in Lakeland, Florida, can be reached at faluvzpa@msn.