Out of all the exercises that you can do at the gym, you don’t want to forget squats. Squats are one of the best exercises for your entire body. Squats mostly target your lower body yet, if correctly done, they release testosterone and human growth factor hormones that increase full body muscle growth. More muscle means more fat burning potential!
There are numerous squat variations you can do other than the important, but often dull, body-weight squat. Once you have mastered the body-weight squat, you can add these five awesome squat variations to your next workout.
5 Squats You Should Be Doing Today
The back squat is the best squat to master before moving on to lifting heavy weights. The back squat requires some technique so get help if you need it. You’ll need to use the squat rack for this exercise.
Get into the squat rack and let the barbell rest on your shoulders. Wrap your arms around the backside of the barbell and grab the barbell with your palms facing forward. Unrack the barbell and get into squat position. Feet should be hip-width apart, and your toes should be pointed slightly out. Squat as you normally would. Remember to keep your abs tight and your back straight.
Single-leg squats are an excellent way to work each leg individually. You may think you’re strong but wait until you try this exercise! The single-leg squat is a good exercise to decrease muscle imbalances. Let’s face it; we always have one dominant leg.
To do a single-leg squat, stand on a box or step with one leg hanging off the box. Begin to lower yourself into the squat just as you were doing a regular squat. Push through the foot on the grounded leg to return to the start position. Remember to switch legs.
Have you ever seen a sumo wrestler? They walk funny, don’t they?
The sumo squat is a great alternative squat that works your inner thigh muscles, a muscle group that can be hard to target. Start with your feet wider than hip-width apart with your toes pointed outwards. Squat down focusing on keeping your chest up and looking ahead. Start with no weight and as you get more comfortable with the exercise, you can hold a dumbbell against your chest for an extra challenge.
The curtsy squat is an excellent squat variation that works your smaller glute muscles. Your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus are primarily support muscles that help with hip stability. Curtsy squats are an excellent choice for runners who often suffer from weak hips. To do a curtsy squat, start with your feet hip-width apart. Move your right foot behind your left foot as far to the left that it can go in a curtsy motion. Try to bring your right knee down behind your left ankle. Repeat with the other side.
Squat jumps are a simple plyometric exercise that builds explosive power. It’s the perfect exercises for athletes. Not only are you building power but the squat jump is also a cardio exercise. Get ready to feel your heart pumping!
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Drop down into a squat and, as you come up out of the squat, proceed into a jump. Use your arms as momentum for the jump.
Give your normal workout a shake-up and try some of these squat variations. Your body will thank you … later.