There’s certainly no arguing with squats – they’re an ideal exercise for sculpting and strengthening the quads, booty and calves, plus, because you’re involving such a large muscle group, they also burn calories. But, switching things up is a great way to challenge your lower body in a different way. The next time you’re getting ready to drop it like a squat, try these variations.
By adding weights to your squat, you’re really loading your legs, which helps you to build greater strength in fewer reps. This variation also includes a shoulder press to incorporate your arms and help you burn more calories. Dumbbells in hand and feet shoulder-width apart, sit back into your squat, keeping your knees in line with your ankles. Exhale as you stand up, driving the weights above your head and squeezing your backside at the top.
This barre variation on the squat is awesome because it really targets the inner thighs and calves as well. Using a barre or piece of furniture for balance, raise onto your tiptoes, heels pressed together. Maintaining this diamond position with your legs, slowly lower down, pulsing in the position.
If you like a little cardio with your squats, the squat thrust is perfect. Begin standing with feet hip-width apart, lowering yourself into a squat and placing your hands on the floor. Jump out into a plank, and then jump back so your feet are just outside your hands, keeping your hands in place throughout the entire movement. Repeat.
Plie Squat Pulse
By raising your heels in this position, you’re engaging your calve muscles and challenging your balance to really work deep into your squads and glutes. Begin with feet wider that hip-width apart, toes turned out. Sink down into a squat, keeping your knees aligned with your ankles. Lift your heels and pulse it out, using a barre or chair for balance.
Plyometric exercises like jump squats are great for boosting your metabolism, but you’ll quickly feel a burn in your legs, too! Begin by sinking back into a regular squat, shooting your arms behind you. Push through your legs as you jump, shooting your arms overhead. Ensure that you are landing as quietly as possible, with a slightly bent knee.
The sumo squat is another squat that really works the inner thighs. Begin with your feet wider than your hips. Sink down into a squat, getting your thighs as close as possible to being parallel to the floor. Exhale as you come back up, pushing through your heels and squeezing your glutes at the top. You can also add weight to this exercise for an added challenge.
Hip Opener Squat
This variation on a squat will really challenge your balance and forces you to work each leg individually, which is great for ensuring your body is well-balanced. Begin as you work for a sumo squat, sinking as far down as possible. Once here, extend one leg out really sinking into your hip to get a great stretch.
This yoga-inspired squat is great for opening up through the chest and back while also getting your squat on. Begin with feet shoulder-width apart, hinging at the hips as you lower back into your squat, as if you were tapping your bum on a chair. Push through your heels as you return back to the starting position.
MORE EXERCISES TO TRY:
- Booya’s Best Lower-Body Moves
- Goodbye Love Handles: 5 Best Lower Body Ab Moves
- Best Booty Sculpting Exercises
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