The classic squat is a great and simple movement pattern. Properly done, it strengthens not only the lower body, but also the muscles of the core, lower back and abs. After tens and hundreds of squats, we might feel like we need a little variety. Here’s 6 ways to reforge the classic pattern into a more attractive form – no weights involved.
1. SPLIT SQUATS
Great for the legs, but also for the core – it requires more strength to keep balance than the classic squat. Stand in a lunge position – one leg in front of the other, but both straight in knees. Make sure you have your balance. Put your hands on the hips. Bend both knees to squat down, and go back up.
Keep the back straight, and make sure you’re not leaning forward – the tension is on the front heel, and the toes of the back foot. Squeeze the glutes each time you’re up. Keep going for 30 seconds in the same position of the legs, then switch the legs, and repeat the whole series as many times as you need.
2. AROUND THE WORLD KICK SQUATS
Great for slim the thighs and toned glutes. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on the hips. Squat down, and as you go up lift the right leg straight up front, squat, lift the right leg straight to the right, squat again, and as you go up kick with the right leg back. Go for 30 seconds, and then another 30 kicking with the left leg. Repeat the whole series as many times as you need.
3. PLIE WIDE SQUATS
Work on our legs, glutes and put some great pressure on the calves. Stand with your heels wider than shoulder-width apart, the feet out (plié position). Keep the hands on your hips or extend the arms to the sides for a better balance.
The back is nice and straight. Squat down without lowering your chest. As you’re down, lift your heels and stand on your toes only for a second. Put the heels back on the floor, and go back up by straightening the knees. Squat for 30 seconds in each set.
4. LATERAL SQUAT
Stand with your feet wide (wider than shoulder-width). Put your balance to the left, bend the left knee (the right one is straight), go back to the starting position. Put your balance to the right, bend the right knee (the left one is straight), go back up.
Remember to keep the proper form of exercise – the knee never goes beyond the toes’ line, hips go slightly back. Continue for 30 seconds, alternating sides with each rep, repeat the set as many times as you need.
5. DEEP SQUAT KICKBACK
A fantastic exercise for the whole lower body plus the core conditioning – the deep squat kickback. Get into the deep squat position, the right foot slightly in front of the left one. Keep the hands extended to the front – the core has to be braced to keep balance in this position.
Simultaneously: lean forward to put the hands on the ground, and kick backwards with the right leg (it should be straight in knee). Go back to the starting position. Keep going with the same leg for 30 seconds, then switch the leg kicking. Perform 4 sets total, 2 on each leg.
6. ROLLING SQUATS
We’ll definitely feel better about our legs and glutes after this one. Our abs will work some more than in classic squats, too. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down to the floor, smoothly pass to sitting position, roll to your back simultaneously taking those legs (straight in knees, if possible) behind your head. Go back to sit, squat and standing position. Keep going for 30 seconds and do as many sets as you need.
That’s it for Vol. 1. Remember that such little modifications added to well-known classics make the workout attractive and challenging again. These are definitely worth trying. Make sure you won’t miss Vol. 2 in one of the upcoming articles featuring another six squats variations you can incorporate to your lower body workout.