The Squat is perhaps one of the oldest, simplest, yet one of the most holistic workouts ever. Older than a thousand years, the squat is a compound or full body movement which trains six primary muscles – core, thighs, quads, hips, glutes and hamstrings – with each rep. Doing squats regularly also strengthens your bones, ligaments & tendons in your lower body. It also improves your overall stability and posture. But doing the same exercise over and over again can get a bit boring, right? Well, today we will introduce you to seven squat variants which you may or may not be aware of but should totally include in your workouts schedule. Ready? Here we go!

1. Goblet Squat – The Goblet Squat gets its name because you hold the weight in front of your chest with cupped hands, just like how one would hold a goblet. This variation works on your glutes, core, hamstrings, lower back and shoulders.

Goblet Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10-12

Target Muscle: Glutes, Core, Hamstrings, Lower Back and Shoulders

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your feet turned out.

Step 2: Hold a dumbbell with both your hands at the middle of your chest.

Step 3: Push your hips out and squat down as you inhale.

Step 4: Hold the squat position for a second and get back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat.

2. Split Squat – The split squat appears very similar to the lunge except you don’t go back to a standing position after every rep. This variation targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes as well as your core.

Split Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10-12

Target Muscle: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Core

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your legs hip-width apart and take a long step backwards such that the heel of your back feet is raised.

Step 2: Keeping your upper body straight, slowly lower your body till the back knee almost touches the ground.

Step 3: Hold the squat position for a second or two and get back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat.

3. Pistol Squat: If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you may want to try the Pistol Squat. Demanding a strong core stability and single leg strength, this workout is for advanced practitioners. Pistol Squats work on your hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus and calves.

Pistol Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10

Target Muscle: Hips, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Gluteus Maximus and Calves

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your legs hip-width apart.

Step 2: Extend one leg in front of you while slowly shifting your weight on the other leg.

Step 3: Raise your arms in front of you at chest level to balance your body.

Step 4: Bend your knees, squat down and deep while maintaining your balance.

Step 5: Hold for a second and get back to the starting position.

Step 6: Repeat

4. Jump Squat: Another advanced variation of Squat, the Jump Squat is a plyometric move that relies on your explosive power. Jump Squat builds muscle, burns fat and works on the fast-twitch muscles in your body. The main muscles engaged are quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back and core.

Jump Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10-12

Target Muscle: Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes, Lower Back and Core

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your legs hip-width apart.

Step 2: Push your hips out as you squat down while keeping your arms at the back form building momentum.

Step 3: With explosive power jump up in the air from the squatting position while swinging your arms upwards.

Step 4: Bend your knees while landing back to absorb the impact.

Step 5: Repeat.

5. Prisoner Squat: The Prisoner Squat gets it somewhat interesting name because the position looks very similar to someone being arrested. Because of the position of the hands behind the back, the Prisoner Squat requires more coordination and balance than the regular squat. This variation is great for improving core stability and overall balance.

Prisoner Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10

Target Muscle: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings and Core

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your legs hip-width apart and place both hands behind your head.

Step 2: Keeping your back straight and chest upright push your hips out and squat down.

Step 3: Hold the squat position for a second and get back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat

6. Plie Squat: The Plie Squat gets its name from the ballet position Plie. The widened stance targets the muscles along the inner and outer thighs apart from the glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings. The Plie Squat also helps you improve your balance and stability.

Plie Squat

Sets – 3

Reps – 10

Target Muscle: Glutes, Quads, Calves and Hamstrings

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart and feet pointing outwards.

Step 2: Push your hips out and bend your knee till your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Step 3: Hold the squat position for a second and get back to the starting position.

Step 5: Repeat

7. Squat Thrust: The Squat Thrust resembles burpee more than a squat, the difference is that in Burpee is a plyometric move which ends with a jump. Nonetheless, Squat Thrust too does a great job of shaping your glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps while simultaneously working on your cardiovascular system. In fact, Squat Thrusts are a great way to condition yourself for burpees.

Squat Thrust

Sets – 3

Reps – 10

Target Muscle: Glutes, Hamstrings and Quadriceps

How To Do:

Step 1: Stand with your legs hip-width apart.

Step 2: Push your hips back and squat down while placing your hands shoulder-width apart near your feet.

Step 3: Jump your feet back until you are in a high plank position.

Step 4: Jump your feet back to your hands and stand up.

Step 5: Repeat

Conclusion

So there we are! Seven different variations to up your squatting game. Simple and easy-to-do workouts, the best thing about squats and its variants is that you don’t require any additional equipment. But what you do need is the right form. The oft-repeated mistakes one performs while squatting includes knees going farther than your toes, not going low enough, not breathing properly, and rounding your back. Constantly working out in the wrong posture can lead to knee pain, hip pain, and injury to your lower back among others. If you are a beginner, we highly advise some supervision till you get your form correct. In case you feel any discomfort while performing any of the above workouts, stop immediately and ask for help. Don’t forget – ‘Practice safe sets’! Do you think we’ve missed any variation? Leave a comment below and let us know!  Till then stay safe and stay healthy!

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An avid bibliophile, blogger and a biryani enthusiast from the city of Nawabs, I love to write and eat.

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