You’ll find squats in every effective workout programme. Many regard it as the ultimate exercise because they help create whole-body strength and develop all the supporting structures in our body, from joints to muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Squatting also burns calories and fat by activating various muscles and triggering the release of powerful hormones that give your metabolism a boost. Besides these benefits, the squat is also a functional exercise.
What many of us don’t realise is that the squat is quite a versatile exercise and there are numerous variations available to either help us shift the focus of the exercise or add some variety to our workouts.
Switch up your squat game for better results with these 10 squat variations
Move 1: The ball squat
The move- Place the exercise ball between your lower back and the wall. Walk your feet forward and roll your body down the ball while continuously pushing back into the ball. Lower your hips toward the floor until you achieve the ideal squat position.
Move 2: Band Squat
Loop a band just above your knees. Position your feet hip-width apart, making sure you create tension in the band. Ensure your knees don’t collapse inwards as you engage your core and bend your knees to drop your glutes to the floor.
Move 3: Cossack (side) squat
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder length apart. Shift your weight onto one foot as you sit back and down into a deep lateral lunge. Let your bent knee go over your toes all while keeping your chest up and your hips down. Keep your other foot firmly on the ground whole keeping you alternate leg completely straight.
Move 4: Sumo or Plie squat
Position your feet in a wide stance with your toes pointing out. Hold a dumbbell with both hands in front of you and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, making sure that your knees don’t extend over your toes. Remember to keep your back straight and your core engaged throughout the squat.
Move 5: Goblet squat
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart while holding a kettlebell by the horns, close to your chest. Engage your core as you squat down making sure your knees extend out in the same direction as your toes during the squat.
Move 6: Dumbbell box squat
Position you feet shoulder-width apart while holding dumbbells in either hand at your sides. Squat down making sure your back is straight and your head is facing forward.
Move 7: Jump Squat
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and point them slightly outwards. Shift your weight onto your heels . Bend your knees, leaning forward slightly. Hold your hands in front of you to minimise the assistance they’ll provide in this exercise. Perform a squat. Come back up in an explosive movement, pushing hard into your heels to jump up into the air. Land on your toes before coming back down onto your heels.
Move 8: Zercher squat
Rack a barbell at upper waist height in a squat rack. Position your forearms under the bar with your elbows placed shoulder-width apart. Pull the bar close to your body and lift it so that the bar is resting on top of your forearms. Step away from the rack and position your feet shoulder-width apart, pointing your toes slightly out. Bend your knees and squat down, keeping your head and chest up as you do so.
Move 9: single-arm overhead dumbbell squat
Hold a dumbbell in one hand. Stand upright with your feet positioned hip-width apart. Press the dumbbell overhead as you look straight ahead and descend into a deep squat while keeping the dumbbell locked-out above your head.
Move 10: Front squat
Place the barbell on your shoulders with your elbows pointing out. You may also hold the bar by with your shoulders by crossing your arms in font of the bar. Perform a deep squat.
Author: Logan Leigh Rix
Logan blends her passion and profession by working as a digital and social media marketer and content creator in the fitness, health and wellness industry. She’s also a former Face of Fitness finalist and Fitness Magazine featured athlete.