3 variantes de sentadillas para tonificar la parte superior del cuerpo

Por Elizabeth Millard, instructora certificada A.C.E., profesora de yoga titulada RYT-200 |

Seguramente escuchó decir que las sentadillas son excelentes ejercicios para la parte inferior del cuerpo. But adding a few tweaks can help build your upper-body muscles too.

squat variations that tone your upper body

Squats are one of the most fundamental strength-training moves, and they provide a lot of benefits for older adults. In fact, the move is so powerful that senior fitness expert David Jack calls it the number one exercise to do as you get older. This is because you need to do that same motion many times every day to climb stairs, go to the bathroom, or get up from a chair.

A study on adults in their late 60s and 70s in Scientific Reports looked at the effects of squats when they’re done three days a week for a period of three months. They found that this exercise regimen significantly improves physical function, especially the ability to go from sitting to standing quickly.

Although squats are an effective way to build muscles in the hamstrings and quads, this exercise can be modified to improve your upper-body strength too. This workout routine will show you how to do that.

If you’re a bit worried about your knees, take note: Squats don’t need to be “deep” to be effective. A partial squat done with good form is better than trying to deepen your squat, which may make you bend too far forward or feel unstable. In the Scientific Reports study, shallow squats were effective too.

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How to Use the 3 Squat Variations

With the moves below, focus on maintaining proper form—which means keep your feet firmly planted with your back straight as you lower down and raise back up.

One form tip to remember: Push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower your body toward the floor, not letting your knees cave in as you do so. (Find our beginner’s guide to the squat here.)

Once you have the basic mechanics of a squat down, you can try these upper-body variations. Add any you like to your regular workout rotation, two to three times a week on non-consecutive days.

Do each exercise slowly and with awareness. Start by doing one set of the exercises and build up to doing three sets total. You can make them more challenging by lifting heavier weights, doing more reps, or both. (Learn more about progressing in your workouts here.)

Como siempre, la clave es la seguridad. Get your doctor’s OK before beginning a new exercise program. If you have a chronic condition (including osteoporosis and arthritis), balance issues, or injuries, talk to your doctor about how you can exercise safely.

What you need:

  • Yoga mat or carpeted area
  • Space to move
  • Comfortable clothing
  • Light weights (optional)
  • Sturdy chair for support, if needed
  • Water to sip, as needed

Recommended FREE SilverSneakers On-Demand Class: Strength-Training and Chair Stand Exercise

Variation #1: Squat to Overhead Press

How to do it:

  • Grab one light dumbbell (or other household object) and grip one end in each hand.
  • To prepare, roll your shoulders up, back and down and stand tall with your core engaged and feet about hip-width apart.
  • Hold the dumbbell in front of your chest.
  • From here, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a shallow squat.
  • As you squat, press the weight up and slightly in front of you, keeping a slight bend in your elbow at the top to protect your joints.
  • Bring the dumbbell back to your chest as you push through your heels to stand up tall again. That's one rep
  • Do 10 to 12 reps.

Make it easier: Perform this move without the weight.

Make it harder: Try the Squat to Overhead Press Combo here.

Variation #2: Side Squat With Knee Lift and Arm Reach

How to do it:

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  • Step out to the right side and lower into a squat.
  • As you return to the starting position, make sure your left foot is firmly on the floor and lift your right knee.
  • As you lift your right knee, reach both arms overhead. The movement should be smooth and controlled. To balance, imagine a string through the crown of your head is pulling your spine toward the ceiling.
  • Pause, then step back out to a side squat, and bring your hands to your chest. Esa es una repetición.
  • Haga 5 repeticiones.
  • Repeat on the opposite side for 5 reps.

Make it easier: If it’s uncomfortable to raise your arms overhead, do arm punches to the front or to the side instead.

Variation #3: Goblet Squat

How to do it:

  • Grab one dumbbell. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and brace your core.
  • Hold the dumbbell at your chest, cupping one end with both hands. Your elbows should point down to the floor. Esta es la posición inicial.
  • Pause, then push through your heels to return to standing. Esa es una repetición.
  • Do 10 to 12 reps.

Make it harder: Try the Ground to Overhead exercise here.

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See our sources:
Study on squat-based training for older adults: Scientific Reports

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