10 Different Ways To Change Up The Standard Squat
Stop doing the same old boring squat… here are 10 new ways to get a great lower body workout but changing away from the normal, boring squat. Add some spice to your workout! Some are more challenging than others so make sure you can perform the move properly before adding weight.
- Sumo Squats (aka Plie’ squats): This hit your inner thighs more than the traditional squat. With the sumo squat, you stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart, and instead of toes pointing straight, turn them out a bit. Slowly lower down until thighs are parallel with the ground and return to standing. If you want to add weight, I suggest holding a dumbbell straight down between your legs (holding just one side so it’s vertical).
- Split Squats: Your butt will hate you tomorrow but love you when you see amazing results. This is on of the more challenging squat variations but it’s my favorite. you’re going to stand a about 2 feet away from a bench, facing away. Place the top of one of your feet on top of the bench. You will have to play with foot positions to get it just right. Then with your supporting leg lower down until parallel to the floor. And press back up. Again play with the footing so that your supporting knee remains right over your ankle. Hold dumbbells down by your sides if wanted.
- Squat jumps: Plyometric exercises (jumps) are great for toning your legs, helping with athletic performance, and burning fat like crazing. With squat jumps, lower into a standard jump then in one smooth move jump up as high as possible. Land as softly as possible. No weights needed on this one.
- One legged squats: Working on balance helps your muscles talk to your brain to get more efficient workouts and help improve your overall health. No rolling off a sidewalk for you! With a one legged squat it is just as it sounds. Hold one food up slightly in front of you, do not let it hit the ground. Keep your weight even on your supporting food and lower your butt down as if doing a normal squat, try to go to parallel and return to standing. Finish all your reps on one leg before switching over to the other.
- Sissy squats: This is a barbell squat that places less pressure on your back than if doing the normal behind the head barbell squat. Use a squat rack if available. Hold the dumbbell supported at your collarbone and hold it in place with crossed arms. Slowly lower into a standard squat and return to standing. Definitely start with little weight until you master the move here.
- Prisoner squats: Place your hands behind your head, then slowly lower down to one knee at a time until both knees are on the ground. Bring one foot up at a time to stand, then go down with the other leg first.
- Rolling squats: Start standing with feet shoulder width apart, without using your hands, sit down roll back on to your back, and again with no hands, turn to standing.
- Wall squat: Find a nice, supportive wall. Walk your feet away and lay your back against the wall. Lower your butt down to where thighs are parallel with the ground. Make sure your feet are in a position that keeps the knees straight over the ankles. Hold the position for your goal time.
- Negative squats: Doing a negative means taking extra time coming up from the contracted phase of an exercise. That would mean lowering down at a normal pace and SLOWLY coming back up. Time under tension for the muscles is longer than normal and that means you see more muscle building/toning results. Negatives can be done with all exercises, and rock.
- Deep squats: This is much like a normal squat but why stop at parallel? With the deep squat you go down below parallel working your tush and hamstrings extra hard. The idea that going below parallel is a bad idea isn’t really true, and helps you function better in day to day life… think about picking stuff up off the ground, walking up stairs, etc. If you have bad knees however, you might want to stick with standard squats. Feel free to add dumbbells or a barbell for an extra challenge.