Squats. How we love to hate them. Not only do they give us a good workout for our legs and glutes, but they also help us to build full-body strength and target all the major muscles in the body. While regular squats can pretty much do it all, it might be time to add a little zing to your movements and spice up your squats with some added intensity.
Performing the same type of exercises time and time again can get a little boring. However, the fun part about exercise is that there are always ways to switch it up and add a little more challenge and depth to your movements.
Challenging Variations to Switch Up Your Squats
Remember, you can always take a step back if you feel like you’re pushing yourself a little too much.
1. Pistol Squats
- Start by standing on your right leg and extend your left leg out. Extend your arms in front of you, toward your left foot.
- Lower down to squat as you balance on your right leg, without lifting your heel and immediately come back up to standing.
- Perform pistol squats for 10 reps on each leg.
2. Plié Squats With Calf Raises
- Start by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Point your toes slightly outward.
- Bend your knees to lower down to squat, keeping your back straight.
- Once you are in the squatting position, lift your heels and lower them back down. Do this 10 times.
- Come back to standing and repeat this exercise for 5 reps.
3. Figure-4 Squats
- Start by standing on your left leg and bring your right ankle over your left thigh to open up your right knee to the side.
- Bend your left knee and push your hips back to lower down to squat. Extend your arms out in front of you as you lower your body.
- Come back up to starting position and perform figure-4 squats for 15 reps on each leg.
4. Hindu Squats
- Stand with your feet about 6 inches apart and squat down as low as you can.
- As you lower down, lift your heels and reach your arms behind you.
- Press your feet immediately to return to the starting position and bring your arms back to the front.
- Perform Hindu squats in explosive movements for 50 reps.
5. Chair Squat Pose
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower down to squat.
- As you lower down, extend your arms up overhead and make sure that your knees are behind all 10 toes.
- Hold this position for 60 seconds and come back up to stand.
- Perform chair pose for 3 reps.
6. Sumo Squats
- Hold a medicine ball in front of your chest and stand with your feet wider than your shoulders and toes pointed out.
- Lower down to squat as slow as you can go, keeping your heels planted firmly on the ground. Your back should be straight as you do this exercise.
- Return to starting position and perform sumo squats for 15 reps.
7. Bulgarian Split Squats
- Stand about 3 feet from a bench with your back facing the bench.
- Extend your left leg back and place your left foot on the bench, while bringing both hands behind your head.
- Lower down to squat keeping your right knee in line with your toes or behind them.
- Come back to standing and repeat.
- Perform Bulgarian split squats for 15 reps on each side.
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Smith, J. (2015, December 10). 12 Ways to Spice Up Your Squats. Retrieved from https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/12-ways-spice-your-squats-better-results
Spice Up Your Squats: 21 Challenging Squat Variations. (2018, May 22). Retrieved from http://www.fitbodyhq.com/strength-training/spice-up-your-squats-21-challenging-squat-variations/