Squats build your quads and other major leg muscles, giving your body a powerful foundation for everyday movement. It’s the “power stance” of exercise. You can shoulder a barbell while you squat, hold a small weight, or just use your bodyweight. Not every squat is built equally, so check out these six variations to add to your workout routine.
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#1 – Bodyweight Squat
A basic form of squatting, the bodyweight squat combines the force of gravity with your entire bodyweight. With feet shoulders’ width apart, your body works for and against itself in this deep-seated movement. Aside from the quads, glutes and hamstrings also get in on the action here.
#2 – Bodyweight Plié Squat
The bodyweight plié squat incorporates a bit of ballet technique into its form. A plié squat involves legs wider than shoulders’ width apart and toes pointed outward. When you bend at the knees, make sure they face the same outward direction as your feet, not the front. Your groin and hip flexors will also thank you for this one.
#3 – Bodyweight Jump Squat
The bodyweight jump squat is a plyometric exercise involving arms that swing with each jump. Keep your head up, don’t curve your back, jump as high as you can, and squat back down before you jump again. Unlike with the plié squat, your groin won’t feel this one, but your calves certainly will.
#4 – Split Squat Jump
The split squat jump is different from the jump squat in that after you jump, you land in a sort of half-split-half-lunge position. This exercise especially works up a sweat because you switch legs each time you land, and there’s no pause between switches. This squat affects the same muscles as the jump squat.
#5 – Narrow Stance Static Squat
The narrow stance static squat starts with your feet together. You bend down like you would for a regular bodyweight squat, but this exercise will feel different because of how your feet are placed. As usual, don’t round your back, and don’t look down. This squat works the hamstrings and glutes (and the quads, of course).
#6 – Negative Pistol Squat
The negative pistol squat involves a knee-level workout bench. Slowly lower yourself onto the bench with one leg slightly raised off the ground (bent at the knee), and stand back up. If you don’t have a bench, a sturdy chair or firm couch will work just as well. This workout impacts lots of muscles, including your groin, outer thighs, and hip flexors.
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