Without a doubt, one of the best body weight exercises, whether you’re trying to build muscle or lose fat (or both) HAS to be the squat.
Drop it like a squat
You NEED to be doing squats, chicks!
Squats are one of the most fundamental functional movements in our lives.
Think about it, you see your baby or toddler performing this move on a daily basis, right?
It’s only as we get older and spend more time sitting down that we lose the natural ability to squat.
Good Things Come to Those Who Squat
Squats are a compound movement – which means it’s an exercise that works more than one muscle group.
Even a simple body weight squat workout uses almost every muscle group in the body – and if you throw a dumbbell or barbell into the mix, then you’re pretty much using every single major muscle group to complete the movement.
You’re using your legs, your hips, your back and core, your shoulders AND your arms.
Nothing is left out!
In short, squats are AMAZING! So do them.
Shut up and Squat - With These 12 Variations!
1. BASIC SQUAT
Stand with your feet hip width apart, your weight on your heels.
Keep your abs tight.
Lower yourself back and down, as if you were about to sit on a bench.
Keep your back straight, and being careful not to lean forward, lower yourself down until your upper legs are parallel with the floor.
Exhale and straighten your legs until you are back in starting position.
2. BARBELL SQUAT
- Heels directly under shoulders.
- Toes slightly pointed out.
- Bar resting across traps.
- Engage core.
- Keep weight on heels.
- Don’t let your knees cave inward.
- When you are ready to perform the squat, breathe in and slowly lower yourself, making sure you control the lift and keep the weight balanced all the way to the bottom of the squat.
- In order to squat to full depth you’ll need to bend over at the HIP and NOT BEND YOUR BACK, the best way to do this is by using mind-muscle connection and picturing your backside coming forward while your shoulders are coming backwards as you are lowering in the squat.
At the bottom of the lift breathe out and push up through your heels to return to your upright position
3. FAST SQUATS
Eat, sleep, squat, repeat
- Stand with feet hip width apart with your weight on your heels.
- Keep your abs tight.
- Lower yourself back and down, as if you were about to sit on a bench.
- Keep your back straight and be careful not to lean forward.
- Exhale and straighten your legs until you are back in the starting position.
Perform at a fast pace.
4. KETTLEBELL GOBLET SQUAT
I like my weights heavy and my squats down low
Stand with your feet slightly beyond shoulder width.
Hold a kettlebell with both hands and hold it vertically in front of your chest, your elbows pointing down.
Keeping your back naturally arched, push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat.
Pause, and push yourself back up to the starting position.
5. LUNGE / SQUAT COMBINATION
Perform a squat and then once back in starting position step forward on one leg and drop down into a lunge.
Come back up then alternate squat / lunge / squat / lunge for 1 minute.
Stay on the same leg – then switch legs when the circuit is repeated.
6. PLANK TO SQUAT
Start in a plank position, with legs extended and hands under shoulders.
Jump both legs in towards the hands simultaneously and explode into a squat position.
Lift the arms, hold for a beat then jump back into plank.
7. ROCK AND ROLL SQUATS – MY VERY FAVOURITE SQUAT VARIATION!
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
From here, bend your knees, and lower all the way down to the floor.
Allow your back to round and gently roll onto your back, tucking your knees into your chest, pulling them in with your hands.
Pull your abs in toward your spine and focus on using your core, not just momentum, to rock yourself forward again.
Press your feet back into the floor and return to standing.
8. SPLIT SQUAT
Sometimes I grab my own butt because… well, I squat
Start with one foot up on the bench and your other leg just slightly in front of your body.
Lower your back knee to the floor while maintaining a neutral spine and good posture.
Keep the majority of your body weight over your front heel.
Press the heel of your front foot through the floor and rise back up to the starting position.
9. SQUAT HOLD
Keeping your heels under your hips, and toes pointed slightly out with your chest up, move your hips back and down and squat down until thighs are parallel with the floor.
Hold squat position while keeping your weight in your heels, not your toes.
10. SQUAT JACKS
Standing in the bottom of a squat position with feet hip-width apart and shoulders stacked over hips, shoot your legs out to the sides and your arms out to shoulder height (like a regular jumping jack) without moving your upper body.
11. SQUAT JUMPS
With your feet hip-width apart, squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then jump as high as you can.
Allow your knees to bend 45 degrees when you land, and then immediately drop back down into a squat, and jump again.
12. SUMO SQUATS
I may not be a Victoria’s Secret model, but I could pick one up and squat her!
Place your feet out more than shoulder width apart and angle your toes outward.
Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the floor.
Hold for a beat, exhale, and press back up to starting position.
Keep your abs drawn in and don’t arch your back.