This Pilates Squat Variation Improves Flexibility and Strength at the Same Time

Considering just how tempting the shower and couch look after a tough training session, we don't blame you for letting post-exercise flexibility work fall by the wayside.

Instead of skipping flexibility entirely, just incorporate the archetypal squat into your workout routine. Like any Pilates exercise, it will strengthen your muscles and joints while helping improve your total-body flexibility and mobility, too.



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"One of my favorite things about Pilates is that it's about working from the inside out and improving the function, rather than just the form or the look of your body," says Amy Jordan, founder of Wundabar Pilates.

Unlike your average body-weight squat, the archetypal squat will take you into a deep hip stretch. At the same time, it will build your glute, quad and hamstring strength — especially if you do it daily, as Jordan suggests.

Ready to give this move a try? Give yourself a few feet of space and get low.


Before you start squatting, prime your body with a few Pilates warm-up exercises, like hip rolls.

How to Do the Archetypal Squat Exercise

If this is your first time trying the archetypal squat, hold the pose for as little as 10 seconds and increase your total squat time gradually as you grow more comfortable with the exercise.


Don't worry if you can't hold the squat at full depth right away, either. This squat variation also requires a certain amount of knee and ankle flexibility, so make sure to work within your range of motion and don't push yourself. Start where you can, and slowly deepen your squat over time.

  1. Start standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointed out, hands in prayer position in front of your chest.
  2. Bend your knees, keeping them aligned with your big toe and second toe.
  3. Lower your butt down below your knees, placing your elbows against the insides of your inner thighs.
  4. Press the elbows out lightly to help keep your knees aligned with your first and second toes.
  5. Hold this position, feeling a deep stretch through your hips.
  6. When you're ready, reverse the motion, pressing into your heels to return to standing.


Think about keeping your feet flat and your back as upright as possible, Jordan says.

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