Get “Squat Savvy” with 5 Gotta-Try Variations

Squats are undeniably some of the most effective full-body workouts to tone and tighten your core, glutes, thighs, and even calves.

The results they yield are well worth the pain (and lingering day-after soreness), but let’s be honest: standard squats can start to feel redundant and tedious after awhile. Reinvigorate that repetitive up-and-down-up-and-down-blah-blah-blah motion with these challenging alternatives.

This ain’t you’re mama’s squat circuit…and it’s not for the faint-of-heart either.  So, deep breaths, everyone.

The burn is about to get real!


  •  Chair Squat: 
  1. Stand up straight with your feet together and arms extended above your head.
  2. Bend your knees deeply and shift hips backward, lowering into a seated position.
  3. Hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds, then return to a standing position.
  4. Do 30 repetitions (20 for beginners) of this squat variation.

chair squat

  • Figure-Four Squat:
  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended in front of you.
  2. Bend your knees into a slight squat, then lift your left leg and cross it over the right thigh.
  3. Lower your right knee deeper and hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.
  4. Return to a standing position, then repeat steps 1-3, switching to your right leg this time.
  5. Do 30 repetitions (20 for beginners) of this squat variation, alternating legs.

figure four squat

  •  Pistol Squat:
  1. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms extended in front of you.
  2. Bend your knees into a slight squat, then straighten the left leg, parallel with your arms.
  3. Lower your right knee deeper until  the glutes are practically touching your heel.
  4. Hover your left leg above the floor and hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.
  5. Return to a standing position, then repeat steps 1-5, switching to your right leg this time.
  6. Do 20 repetitions (10 for beginners) of this squat variation, alternating legs.

pistol squat

  • Single-Leg Squat:
  1. Stand up straight with your feet together and arms extended in front of you.
  2. Lift your right foot off the floor and raise the leg slightly out behind you.
  3. Hold this position, while stacking your hips directly in line with the shoulders.
  4. Lower your left knee deeply and hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.
  5. Return to a standing position, then repeat steps 1-4, switching to your left leg this time.
  6. Do 30 repetitions (20 for beginners) of this squat variation, alternating legs.

single leg squat

  • Yoga Squat:
  1. Stand up straight with your feet together and arms extended by each side in a T-shape.
  2. Place your right elbow under left elbow and wrap the right hand around left forearm.
  3. Further entwine both arms until your palms are facing back-to-back.
  4. Position your left leg over right leg and lock the left foot securely behind right calf.
  5. Bend your right knee deeply and hold this stance for approximately 2 seconds.
  6. Return to a standing position, then repeat steps 1-5, switching to the left leg this time.
  7. Do 20 repetitions (10 for beginners) of this squat variation, alternating legs.

yoga squat

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