Do 30 Air Squats and Get a Free Subway Ride in Moscow

Written by Katherine Martinko

Russia is pulling out all the stops for the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics, but they’ve now taken it to another level. Apparently, having fit athletes to represent the country isn’t enough. In order to encourage Russian citizens to get in better shape, the government has come up with an unusual incentive: commuters in Moscow will receive a free subway ticket, which costs 30 rubles or $0.92 USD, if they can perform 30 air squats in front of special automated transit machines that can tell if you’re cheating.

I think this is ingenious. Why not reward people for demonstrating basic, functional physical health? Moscow might lose out on some subway fares, but anyone who can do 30 squats properly in a row is probably going to be less of a burden on Russia’s state-funded health care system than a person who can’t. A proper squat – weight on the heels, knees tracking over the toes, back straight – has many benefits. It’s a “compound movement” that exercises multiple muscles at the same time. It builds core strength, mobility, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity. “Crank out a set of 25 air squats and see if that gets your heart beating,” challenges the author of an article called “Why Squat?” Or try 30, you lucky Muscovites, and feel those glutes burn!

The squat machines are simple, smart and fun. They work the body, wake up the mind and possibly tickle the soul, if you’re up for a good laugh in the process. It would be great if other international cities followed Russia’s example and installed squat-detecting machines as part of their public transit systems because any way of working physical activity into one’s daily schedule is a smart idea.

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

Photo Credit: YouTube


Lisa Neale

That is an amazing idea, I wish they had the same or similar thing at our train stations over here.
They could probably do a group of different ones as well like an exercise bike or rowing machine? With an exercise bike or rowing machine style one they may be able to make it 'green' as well by converting the movement of the pedal or 'oars' into electricity for the machine to use?

Bill Eagle
Bill Eagle5 years ago

A great idea, something that we should be doing as well.

Roxana Saez
Roxana Saez5 years ago


Lynn C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Great idea.

Dominic C.
Dominic C5 years ago

A novel gimmick for a healthy motivation. What a way for Muscovites

Kate S.
Kate S5 years ago


BJ J5 years ago

Good idea.

Anne Moran
Anne Moran5 years ago

Hey,, that's a great concept !!

Great incentive, especially if you got no money... - And there are a LOT of poor people over there... - There is 'much' poverty in Russia; it's quite sad...

Emma B
Emma Blydenburgh5 years ago

I loved hearing about this on Wait Wait Don't Tell me!

Christine Stewart

What they should do is have the person use an electricity generating stationery bike for a few minutes!