Get Physical: Squat + Kick = Squat Kick

The squat kick is a powerful compound exercise that combines resistance training with cardio and a useful self-defense technique. Plus, performing a squat kick is as obvious as its name implies.

Facing a mirror, stand with your legs wider than your hips and perform a squat. That means spine straight, abs tight, toes pointed forward, and a range of motion that ends when your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. As you rise out of the squat, throw a front kick (see below for more details) with your left leg. Chamber the kick and drive outward as if to strike with your heel. Perform another squat but this time you throw a right front kick. Continue squatting and alternating kicks.

Breaking it down

Proper breathing: Inhale as you bend the knees and lower yourself into a squatting position; exhale as you straighten up to throw the front kick.

The kick itself: A front kick is basic enough for a novice to use for both fitness and self-defense. Beginning in front of a mirror in the stance described above, raise your right knee to at least waist height. This is your chamber. From there, you thrust out your hips and use your leg muscles to explode your foot outward—imagining the heel as the striking surface as you snap the kick toward the intended target. Quickly return your foot back through the chamber to the starting position.
Cardio benefit: Once you’ve mastered proper form, squat kicks can be executed quickly and intensely, thus increasing the cardiovascular component of the movement.

Targets: Those of you with a training partner may wish to kick a target pad or focus mitt. Have your partner stand in front of you at a safe distance. As you rise from the squat into your front kick, your partner can meet that kick with the target pad.

Frequency: Do not perform squat kicks on consecutive days. Give your knees a rest.

Self-Defense: When using a front kick strictly for self-defense, it might be best to utilize your instep as the striking point and your attacker’s groin as the target.

Final note: The exercise advice presented above is not meant for anyone with contraindicated health problems. Please consult a medical or fitness professional.