What Is a Pile Squat?
The muscles of your upper legs, lower legs and glutes work together to support and balance your body. All types of squats focus on these areas of your body, but each type targets them in a different way.
Pile squats resemble other squat types, but they mostly resemble the popular squat variation known as the pliè squat. Both pile and pliè squats use a unique foot position to change the nature of the exercise’s movement.
Warm Up and Stretch
Before you start any workout, warm up for five minutes to get your heart pumping. Run in place or jump rope, for example. Stretch your calves, quads and hamstrings before going into squats. For your calves, stand up and lift your toes toward your shins.
Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds per leg. Balance on one leg and pull your heel toward your glutes to stretch your quads. Hold this stretch 20 to 30 seconds per leg. Lastly, place the heel of one foot on the floor, six inches past the toes of your other foot. Stretch your hands toward the forward foot until you feel the pull in the back of your upper leg. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds and then switch to the other leg.
Setting up for a squat requires you to stand with a flat back and your feet shoulder- width apart. Point the toes of both feet straight ahead. When you lower your body, keep your back straight and centered between your legs. Bend your arms at the elbows and raise both hands up, as you move from the top to the bottom of the exercise. Stop moving downward when your thighs are parallel to the floor. At the same time, stop your hands at eye level. Lower your arms as you return to the standing position.
When standing in the normal squat position, rotate your feet so your toes point away from your body. This places your feet at roughly 30-degree angles to your body, which is the same foot position as the pliè squat. Hold one end of a dumbbell with both hands. Allow the loose end of the dumbbell to face the floor as you lower your body during the squat. Remember to keep your back straight as you raise and lower your body. Start with five squats and progress by adding more reps each time you exercise.
Like the standard squat, your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves get a lot of attention with pile squats. Adding the weight of a dumbbell to the exercise increases the resistance applied to those areas of your body while making your core muscles help balance the added weight you are holding in front of your body.
Lynda Schwartz is a fitness professional who began writing in 2004. She has contributed to "Women's Day" and "Good Housekeeping" magazines, as well as covered fitness and well-being for online publications. Schwartz holds a bachelor's degree in exercise science and health promotion.