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Variations of Squats to Improve Balance, Core Strength, and Lower Body Mobility

A deck squat is the name for the movement pattern of rolling gently onto one's back, then using the momentum of rolling forward into a body-weight squat.

You can do deck squats on any surface, but I find that for most people, it's safest and most effective to do them from a firm but soft surface like a stack of gym mats or a mattress. As you'll see toward the end of this video, you can add more mats or a second mattress to raise your starting point if this is helpful - I have had elderly clients do deck squats using as many as three mattresses, giving them a starting point that is about equivalent to a regular chair.

Deck squats are highly useful for developing core strength, lower body mobility, and balance. They are particularly useful for improving mobility of ankles and knees.

Some variations of deck squats as demonstrated in this video include:

A simple body-weight squat with a regular stance, feet about shoulder width apart.

A wider-stance squat.

With your feet crossed - you'll be pushing up off the outer edges of your feet with this variation.

With your feet crossed the other way.

A single leg squat.

If you try these variations within a set of multiple squats - say 10 repetitions per set - you can always throw in a regular squat to restore a sense of balance if you feel the need for this.

For an overview of exercise progressions that you can work at to improve your mobility and balance in a systematic way, please feel free to visit our Mobility Exercise Progressions page here:

For some suggestions on how to set up a simple workout area at home, please feel free to view:


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