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Squat Bender Exercise 2023

The Squat Bender is a bodyweight exercise that combines squatting and bending movements, improving lower body strength, flexibility, and endurance.

  • The Squat Bender is a fitness exercise featured in a 1946 Army field manual detailing the physical training program utilized by GIs during World War II. 
  • Although chosen for military fitness purposes, this exercise is suitable for most individuals due to its simplicity and effectiveness.
  • This bodyweight workout enhances the lower back and lower extremities’ leg strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • It is a four-count exercise performed slowly, involving two key movements: proper squatting and forward bending at the waist.

Army PRT Squat Bender Drill

Army Squat Bender
Army Squat Bender

The squat bender is the 5th exercise in Army Preparation Drill Workouts; this exercise develops the lower back and lower extremities’ strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Starting Position: 

  • Straddle stance with hands on hips.

Cadence: 

  • SLOW

Count:

  • Squat while leaning slightly forward at the waist with the head up and extend the arms to the front, with arms parallel to the ground and palms facing inward.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Bend forward and reach toward the ground with both arms extended and palms inward.
  • Return to the starting position.

Check Points:

  • At the end of count 1, the shoulders, knees, and the balls of the feet should be aligned. The heels remain on the ground, and the back is straight.
  • On count 3, bend forward, keeping the head aligned with the spine and the knees slightly bent. Attempt to keep the back flat and parallel to the ground.

Precaution: 

  • This exercise is always performed at a slow cadence.
  • Allowing the knees to go beyond the toes on count 1 increases stress on the knees.

Muscles Worked by Squat Bending

The Squat Bender exercise targets several muscle groups, working them simultaneously; this includes:

  • Quadriceps are the muscles on the front of your thighs; you work these muscles in the squat position.
  • Glutes are your buttock muscles, and you engage these muscles when pushing up from the bottom squat position.
  • Hamstrings are the muscles at the back of your thighs, and you engage these muscles when you bend forward at the waist.
  • Hip Flexors are the muscles that help you control the bending and straightening of your hips. 
  • Core Muscles which include your abs and obliques 9or the muscles on the sides of your abdomen); you work these muscles to stabilize your body throughout the exercises.  
  • Calves or Calf muscles are worked but to a lesser extent when you squat during the exercise.
  • Lower Back muscles, particularly erector spinae muscles; you work these muscles when bending forward and returning to an upright position.

Benefits of Squat Bender

The squat bender exercise combines squatting and bending, and it has many benefits, as follows:

Squatting Benefits:

  • Assists in weight loss by burning calories.
  • It lowers the risk of injuring your knees and ankles.
  • Squats strengthen tendons, bones, and ligaments around the leg muscles.
  • It uses core muscles to fortify your lower body, especially the glutes, and quadriceps.

Bending Benefits:

  • Bending Stretches your hamstrings and spine.
  • Enhances flexibility by loosening tight areas of the body.
  • Leverages body weight to strengthen muscles and joints.

Other muscles used in daily activities can also improve with regular practice.

How to Perform the Squat Bender at Home

Follow the steps below to do the squat bender exercise at home:

  1. Starting Position

    Stand straight, slightly separate your feet, and place your hands on your hips.

  2. Squat

    – Squat with your knees fully bent, leaning slightly forward at the waist.
    – Look up and extend your arms to the front, parallel to the floor, with palms facing in.
    Note: Keep your shoulders, knees, and feet aligned. Ensure your heels stay on the floor and your back remains straight.

  3. Return

    Return to the starting position.

  4. Bend Forward

    – Bend forward and reach toward the floor.
    – Extend both arms to touch your toes (or the floor in front of your toes, with your palms facing inward. Keep your knees straight.
    Note: Maintain a straight line with your head and spine. To simplify, you can slightly bend your knees. Keep your back parallel to the floor and flat.

  5. Return

    Return to the starting position.

Squat Bender Conclusion

  • The Squat Bender includes the steps mentioned above in each repetition. 
  • You can adjust the number of repetitions to meet your individual needs and capabilities. I hope this guide will be beneficial for you.
George N.
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