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This month's workout is a short workout that you can integrate into your mornings. (Image: Amanda Shapin)

DC Refined x ShapinUp: AM squat challenge

September can be a busy month. It's back to school time, and whether you're headed back to class, your kids are, or you're just taking advantage of sales and buying fresh office supplies, it's a good month to set new routines into motion. It's sort of like the New Years of Fall, so let's make a resolution to start the season feeling good. This month we're sharing a mini squat challenge from ShapinUp.

No matter how busy your day may get, if you squeeze in some sort of workout in the morning, you're off to a good start. Sometimes we get caught up in needing to do a hardcore workout and sweat for 45 minutes, otherwise we don't consider it a workout. That's great to get those 45 minutes of movement in, but sometimes it doesn't happen. If that's the case, what about a micro workout? It may not burn as many calories as a 45 minute spin class, but it's something. And doing something good for your body is always better than nothing.

This month's workout is a short workout that you can integrate into your mornings. It takes no more than 5 minutes and will get your legs and glutes activated and ready to take on the day. I recommend doing this mini workout every other morning. If you're feeling stiff when you wake up, start with some light stretching to warm up your body, then get into the squat challenge. As it becomes easier (it will likely seem easier the more you do it), add five squats to each move to continue challenging yourself. At the end of the month, see how much stronger your lower body feels thanks to just a few minutes each morning.

Of course this short workout isn't meant to replace your entire workout routine. Think of it as a nice bonus burn in the morning to compliment the rest of your day.

Here's how to do each squat variation:

  • Air Squat: Stand with feet hip width apart, feet pointed straight ahead. Sit back as if you're sitting in a chair. Go down to your lowest point while maintaining control. Stand back up.
  • Sumo Squat: Stand with your feet wider than hip width apart with your toes pointed out and away from the center of your body. Bend your knees and hips to lower into your squat position. Press up to standing by pushing your weight into your heels.
  • Squat Pulse: Go back to the foot positioning of your air squat. Go down to the lowest point of your squat. Raise up one inch then back down to your lowest point.
  • Jump Squat: With the same positioning as your air squat, go down to your lowest point then jump up, landing back in your squat position with your knees bent and hips lowered.
  • Squat Hold: Use the same positioning as your air squat. Go down to your lowest point and hold here. Keep the weight in your heels and your chest lifted. Look straight ahead of you.

If you missed August's workout, check it out HERE.