Squats might just be the ultimate gym exercise, so here’s an ultimate guide to squats.
By why exactly should everybody (yes, everybody) drop it like a squat?
For starters, squats are one of the most functional, basic movements of the human body. Practicing squats can help you run faster, jump higher, balance better, and be all-around more fit. Squats are a whole-body exercise, not for “legs only”. They create shapely glutes, train your core stability & balance, and strengthen your entire body.
My ultimate guide to squats is arranged in order of most basic squats to most challenging squats. It is recommended that you excel at the squats at the top of the list, before moving down to the more difficult squats.
Cody’s Ultimate Guide to Squats
Air squat: This is the most basic of all squats, and a necessary one to master before moving on to any of the other squats listed here. The basic squat movement is this: With your arms extended in front of you or overhead, squat until your bum is below your knees, then rise back up. Keep your knees behind your toes, your weight on your heels, and your back straight while you squat.
Jump squat: The same as an air squat, but use explosive force on the upward movement to jump upwards. Land and immediately descend into the next squat.
BOSU ball squat: Stand on the rounded half of the BOSU ball and squat. This will develop your balance and work your core muscles extra hard.
Weighted back squats
Back squat: Place the barbell on your shoulders and stabilize it with a wide grip, then perform your squats. Your torso will naturally lean forward over your legs, but take care not to let your back “round”.
Smith Machine squat: The Smith Machine helps stabilize your movements, so you can add more weight to your usual back squat.
Siff squat: With a barbell on your shoulders, raise your heels so that you are on your toes. Keep your heels raised while you perform your squats.
Box squat: Pick a bench, box, or ledge on which you hips are below your knees when you sit on it. Stand with the box behind you, feet shoulder-width apart, and squat until you sit down, then stand back up. There should be no bouncing, falling, or touch-and-go squatting.
Weighted front squats
Front squat: Using a hook grip, rest the barbell on the “meaty” part of your shoulders in the front. Perform your squats as you usually would. Keep in mind that during a front squat, the torso should not lean forward as much as a back squat. The upper half of your body should remain mostly upright.
Goblet squat: Hold a Kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands in front of your chest and squat.
Overhead squat: Start by testing out your shoulders’ range of motion by moving your arms in backwards circles. Remember how it feels at the point where your arms are wide apart, overhead, and you can no longer move them backwards without bringing them below head-height. That is how wide your grip should be with the barbell. Using this wide grip, press the barbell overhead (it will be slightly behind your head), and perform your squats as usual.
Single leg split squats (aka Bulgarian split squat): Stand with a bench or box directly behind you, and rest the top of one foot on it. Center your weight on your front foot- the bench your back foot is resting on is purely for balance, not for supporting weight. Perform your squats with your front leg, then switch legs.
*Tip: The further out you move your front leg, the deeper the squat.