9 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing
Squats are the perfect staple of any workout to sculpt strong, lean legs and a sexy backside.
But let’s be honest here…
Planting both feet, throwing a barbell on your back and doing a traditional back squat can get either A. boring, or B. intimidating.
However, by sprinkling different squat variations into your workout, you can target a body part or movement more efficiently… Plus you have options for busy days when you can’t make it to the gym.
So forget heavy back squats or boring bodyweight squats. Get to know – and perfect – the 9 squat variations you should be doing…
Even better, I’ve put them in order from easiest to hardest. See, how nice am I?
9 Squat Variations You Should Be Doing
#1: Prisoner Squats
Here’s a bodyweight gem that should be your first stop after you master the basic bodyweight stop.
Why? By interlocking your hands behind your head, you increase the intensity and tension on your core. Plus, it hits your upper back at the same time – which is a tough body part to train without any equipment.
A great exercise to add into your warm up routine to get your muscles firing!
#2: Sumo Squat
Skip the adductor/abductor machines at the gym and do this instead, ok?
By pointing your toes out, you’re hitting the muscles on your inner thigh (adductors). And let’s be honest. Who doesn’t want that?
Check your form is spot on:
- Make sure your knees track inline with your toes.
- Push your hips back first, as if you were about to sit down
- Move your feet wider than a regular squat position. Further than shoulder width apart.
#3: Frog Squat
You wont find this move in ANY fitness magazine… and that’s because I created it! Add this exercise into your warm up to increase your range of motion and mobility, so you can get primed and ready to burn more calories during your workout.
Why is this called a “Frog Squat”? Good question! Early one morning, my favorite bootcampers yelled “I feel like a frog”… and it just stuck
#4: Curtsy Squat
Ladies and gentlemen… this is my #1 go to exercise for targeting your glutes. You simply must do this, ok?
Not only does it give nice shape to your backside, but it works the stabilizing muscles in your glutes to help prevent injury.
Even better, you’re training the rotation movement pattern – the one which most trainers neglect.
The biggest mistake I see? Most people fail to keep their hips square throughout the movement, which reduces the involvement of the specific glute muscles we’re trying to target. (Take a look at the video demo again and you’ll see what I mean.)
Work hard and keep your hips square!
#5: Goblet Squat
This is one of my favorite variations. Here’s why…
Your center of gravity is above your midsection – so your core has to stabilize throughout the movement.
Plus, you don’t have the awkwardness of holding heavy dumbbells… or worrying about your grip strength giving out before your legs do.
My best tip for solid technique? Imagine you’re trying to squat over a hole. If you’ve ever been to Asia, you know what I’m talking about! As you squat down, push your knees out, maintain a “proud” chest throughout the movement and ultimately, your elbows should touch the inside of your thigh, just above your knee.
While you won’t be able to stack up a lot of weight with this exercise – it will help you groove picture perfect squat technique.
#6: Offset Dumbbell Squat
I’m a huge fan of offset loading! Since it’s an awesome way to challenge your body in a way it’s not used to…And yes, It looks simple holding a single dumbbell on one shoulder, then doing a regular squat. But you just wait…! This little known exercise is crazy effective…!
Why? Holding an uneven load forces your core and hips to work harder than usual to stabilize throughout the range of motion.
#7: Bulgarian Split Squat
Brutal on your quads but efficient… and hey, the pain is only short lived! Lifting your rear foot higher increases the range motion – and intensity. See, this isn’t called a universally despised exercise for nothing.
Your quads will be screaming at you. Make sure the discomfort you feel is in the muscle and not your knee-joint.
Did you just say ouch?
For extra fun, add in a hop. You’re welcome!
#8: Overhead Squat
It’s one of the single best – and toughest – total body exercises. And for good reason!
The overhead squat challenges your core and shoulders as well as your lower body… so you need solid mobility, stability and strength to rock this move.
If you’ve never done this before, start with bodyweight only… then progress to using a broomstick before you add a barbell into the mix.
Yes, it looks easy… but it’s extremely important you perfect your form before adding any weight.
#9: Pistol Squat
Also known as a single leg squat – this exercise is no joke!
Now, if you’re having difficulty progressing to get a full rep… start by using assistance.
You could also use a Suspension Trainer for support to help increase your range and build strength and stability in your working leg before you try it unassisted.
There we have it. Top 9 squat variations you should be doing…I suggest you start at variation #1 and work your way through each one. But…
If you really want to burn a lot of fat, you need to use these Calorie Burn Accelerator Workouts.
You’ll get to 1,000 calories a workout pretty quick because you’ll get my insider secrets of how to progress safely and fast.
And it’s not just for getting you leaner faster, but a long-term solution you’ll have for life to increase your intensity and calorie-burning so that you get the most out of your workouts.
Enjoy burning more calories in less time!