On its own a squat is one of the most beneficiall fitness exercises to work your lower body, specifically glutes and legs due to the big muscle group involved. It’s the perfect exercise in any itness programs aimed at strengthen, define and tone.
This is one of the reasons why squats are one most popular exercises, but repeating the same squat over and over again can lead to lose motivation and hit a muscle plateau.
Here are 10 different ways to squat that will help you make sustancial progress.
Don’t try to do all 10 in the same workout.
Stand up, feet parallel, strech your legs (don’t lock your knees) and keep your back upright. Bend your knees and lower your hip to the ground. You can do the exercise with or without weights for extra intensitiy, holding a dumbell on each arm.
A variation of this exercise is the so called ATG squat (Ass to Grass squat), in which you lower your hip below your knees. Check there is no knee or back pain if you go for this one.
2 FRONT SQUAT
Classic squat starting position, but this time hold the barbell across your shoulders in front of the body, look for the most confortable resting position.
3 OVERHEAD SQUAT
This exercise have their roots in weightlifting and it is widely used nowadays in crossfit boxes. It will help you train your lower body apart from arms and shoulders too.
4 JUMP SQUAT
This is an excellent exercise to tone your glutes, due to the great amount of muscle fiber required to generate the power to make you jump. It’s also a great move for weight loss.
I don’t recommend you use an extra weight for this exercise, to avoid any muscle or joint pain.
5 ISOMETRIC SQUAT
Rest your back on a wall, bend your knees and hold your position for a few seconds. It’s this easy!
Isometric or hold squats are a great way to strengthen your quads, although you will only gain strength on the angle you are doing the exercise. You may want to use different knee angles within the same set (20 seconds at 90 degrees; 20 seconds at 120 degrees…)
6 BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
This is a mix between a squat and a reverse lunge, a very challenging and effective exercise to tone your lower body.
1 Start by standing about 10-15 cms in front of a flat bench with your back facing the bench.
2 Move one foot back so that your toe is resting on the flat bench. Your other foot should be stationary in front of you. Keep your head up at all times as looking down will get you off balance and also maintain a straight back.
3 As you inhale, slowly lower your leg until your thigh is parallel to the floor. At this point, your knee should be over your toes. Leading with the chest and hips and contracting the quadriceps, elevate your leg back to the starting position as you exhale.
4 Switch legs and repeat the movement.
Tip: ensure you don’t feel any hip or lower back pain.
7. BALLET (PLIE) SQUATS
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out at 45 degrees. Put both hands on your hips.
Bend your knees to 45 degrees and lift your heels off the floor and squeeze your glutes
Slowly lower your heels back and straighten your legs
This is a normal squat, with a much shorter ROM span (Range of Movement). Once you’ve started the movement and your hip is down, perform a series of short bounces further down as many as you can endure
9. SIDE SQUAT
Start on a squat position.
Bend your elbows so your hands are in front of your chest, optionally holding weights. Step your right foot out to the side and squat down. Push off with your right foot back to center and repeat on the left side.
10. ONE-LEGGED/PISTOL SQUAT
Building up a one-legged squat can be difficult, so approach it as a long-term project. The one-legged squat requires mastery of your bodyweight, balance, and skill. When mastered, it is an excellent and impressive way to build strength throughout the lower body.
Pick up a disc or a kettlebell and hold it by the horn.
Hold one leg off of the floor and squat down on the other.
Squat down by flexing the knee and sitting back with the hips, holding the kettlebell up in front of you.
Hold the bottom position for a second and then reverse the motion, driving through the heel and keeping your head and chest up.
Lower yourself again and repeat