One of the popular strength exercises is squats, performed by lowering the body down from a standing position, then back up again. The repetitions put the hip, knee, and ankle joints to work, as well as the leg and glute muscles.
Doable and effective, squats have been modified by trainers to target different needs. Get to know 5 variations you can try at home:
1. Bodyweight Squat
Also known as the standard squat, the bodyweight squat not only targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, but also your core. You can use dumbbells, kettlebells, elastic band, or barbell with this routine for greater intensity.
Start with the standing position, feet a bit wider than the hips and arms placed at the sides. Keep your back flat and chest high while you gradually shift your weight to your heels.
With your hips pushed back, lower your body, bend your knees, and bring your palms to the chest. Then, squeeze your glutes as you stand up again. Perform several repetitions as desired.
2. Jump Squat
Try a more dynamic squat variation that likewise improves your core, glute, thigh, and hamstring muscles. A jump squat assumes a similar starting position with the bodyweight squat.
Coming from the bent position, swing your arms to give your jump the momentum it needs. Then land with your knees. Do at least 15 reps in one cycle.
3. Squat Jack
Another fun squat variation is the squat jack – a combination of jumping jacks and squats that includes your inner thigh muscles. Start with your feet placed together and hands clasped together in the chest. Then, jump so your feet are now a bit wider than your shoulders.
Bring your body to a squat by engaging your core. Keep your chest lifted and back straight as you shift weight to the heels, push the hips back, and bend the knees. Again, with your weight on your heels, raise your body up and jump your feet together.
4. Squat with Side Leg Lifts
Regular squats tend to improve the gluteus maximus alone. With the leg lift and squat variation, you are working out the other glute muscle groups (i.e., the gluteus minimus and medius).
You must stand with feet slightly wider than your hips and elbows bent upwards so that the weights carried in your hands are at the shoulder tops. Likewise, use your core and drive through your heels when lowering to a squat — knees bent, back flat, hips protruded back.
Still putting the weight on your heels, squeeze your glutes and lift your left leg sidewards, toes pointing forward. You may struggle with balance at first; just remember to hold on to your right leg for support. Then complete the cycle by putting the raised leg down. Perform 5 to 10 reps before switching to the other leg.
5. Sumo Squat
Here, the legs are set apart at a wider distance — an ideal position for the entire glute muscles and the inner thighs compared to the basic squat. The descent to a squat is basically the same.
Use your core and lift your chest. With your back straight, drive through your heels as you bend your knees to a squat, hips pushed back. Elbows are bent along the way and palms put together in the chest. Then, slowly get back up to the standing position, squeezing the glutes.
You will find many other squat types. The basic 5 presented here will, nevertheless, get you started on a solid routine.