Step 1

Starting Position: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, facing outward or turned slightly outwards while holding a dumbbell in each hand by your sides, with palms facing inwards. Depress and retract your scapulae (pull shoulders down and back).


Step 2

Stiffen your core and abdominal muscles (“bracing”) to stabilize your spine. Curl the dumbbells to a starting position where they rest on the front edge of your shoulders or just in front of your shoulders. Hold your chest up and out, tilt your head slightly up, and shift your weight over your heels.


Step 3

Downward Phase: Start the downward phase by first shifting your hips backwards then downwards to create a hinge-like movement at your knees. As you lower your hips the knees will then start to shift forward slowly, but try to control the amount of forward translation (movement) of the tibia (shinbone). Attempt to keep your back flat.


Step 4

Continue to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel with the floor, or until your heels begin to lift off the floor, or until your torso begins to round or flex forward. Monitor your feet, ankles and knees, ensuring that the feet don't move, the ankles do not collapse in or out and the knees remain aligned over the second toe.


Step 5

Lowered Position: From the front, the knees should continue to remain aligned over the second toe and body weight should be evenly distributed over both feet. From the side, the position of the tibia (shinbone) and torso should be parallel with each other and the low back should appear flat or showing the beginning of some rounding.


Step 6

Upward Phase: While maintaining your back, chest and head-up position, exhale and extend the hips and knees by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso need to rise together while keeping the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned over the second toe. Continue extending until you reach your starting position.

Technique is very important in this lift. The tendency is to hold the tibia (shinbone) too vertical which forces you to lean your torso too far forward. Using a mirror for feedback, shift your tibia forward while keeping your heels on the floor, then bring your torso upright back (moving it more upright), but do so from the hips and not through the low back. Squeeze your abdominals to help prevent excess arching in the back with this correction.

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