The squat is often considered the king of workouts thanks to its ability to work every muscle in the legs and trigger a massively anabolic state.
But while squats may be powerful, they’re also somewhat limited. All you do is hold a weight on your shoulders and move up and down slowly. It’s not very inventive and not very exciting. What’s more, it’s not quite as full body as the deadlift seeing as you won’t be using your upper body to raise a massive barbell.
Good thing there are so many variations available then to spice things up and to challenge you in whole new ways!
The basic squat is the defacto leg exercise for many of us. Rest a bar on your shoulders and head straight up and down!
ATG stands for ‘Ass to Grass’ and basically means you’re squatting all the way down. This can be tough on those of us with knee problems, so it’s not for everyone. If you can pull it off though, then it’s an awesome way to train the full range of movement for an even bigger challenge and even greater results.
Here you take the barbell and rest it across the front of your shoulders and upper pecs. It slightly alters the position of the weight, making your quads work a little harder.
Goblet squats are similar to front squats in principle except they involve holding something big and heavy in front of you such as a kettlebell. Great practice for lifting boxes!
Sissy squats are bodyweight squats that involve leaning back like neo and going up on tip-toes. It’s another one that can be tough on the knees but it’s a great party trick when you can pull it off.
The sumo squat is a wider-legged squat that can be made harder by lifting a dumbbell or kettlebell off of the ground during reps – in which case it’s a little like a deadlift!
The bodyweight squat is a squat without any extra weight. You’ll likely want to go ATG to make this tough enough.
One Legged Bodyweight Squat
Or you can make it tougher simply by squatting down on one leg!
The pistol squat is a one legged squat performed with better form. Your foot stays flat on the ground at all times (rather than coming up on tiptoes) and you have to lower your body all the way to the ground, ATG style.
Another way to make squats harder with your bodyweight alone is to jump at the end of each rep.
Side lunges are essentially a squat that has you lunging out to one side and squatting with just one leg.
Hold your hands as though you’re praying and rest the barbell across the insides of your elbows. Painful, tricky and tough as nails!
A squat where you hold the bar straight above your head, turning it into a great isometric hold for the shoulders and upper chest!