12 Squats You Should Be Doing
1. In a back squat, the weight (typically a barbell) is placed across the back of your shoulders and upper back. Since it gives you a very good mechanical advantage, the back squat is good for lifting heavy weights and working your quads, butt, low back, and abs.
2. Front Squat: Perform a front squat by holding, or “racking” a barbell on the front of your shoulders, then squatting. Compared to the back squat, the front squat is better for strengthening the low back, and can be easier on the knees.
3. Lateral Squat: The lateral squat, as the name implies, involves moving towards one side or the other as you squat, and is good for improving hip mobility and your side-to-side movement strength.
4. Goblet Squat: The goblet squat is a perfect movement for learning how to squat, and to do it, you simply hold a weight (such as a dumbbell or med ball) close to your chest as you squat you can also stand with your legs wide.
5. Split Squat: To simultaneously improve stability and single leg strength, nothing beats the split squat, also known as the “Bulgarian” squat. To do it, put one foot in front of your body, and the other foot behind you, then squat in a lunging position. You can also do a split squat with your back leg elevated on a chair, step or bench.
6. Drop Squat: A drop squat is very good for training athletes how to properly land, and can also be a great cardio workout. To do it, explosively “drop” into a squat position while simultaneously pushing your arms out in front of you. Then stand up and do it again.
7. Isometric Squats (or Wall Sits): Isometric squats can “isolate” a specific section of the squat and strengthen that part of the movement only, and are also good if you want to build quad and butt strength but have bad knees or can’t move through full range of motion. Simply hold a squat position, preferably at close to 90-degree bend in the knees. You can also do isometric squats with your back against the wall.
8. Stability Ball Squat: Similar to the goblet squat, the stability ball squat is good for learning how to squat properly, since you’re leaning against and guiding a stability ball up and down a wall as you do the movement. This move is also good if you’re coming back from an injury and need to do a squat motion with low stress on the legs.
9. Jump Squat: As the name implies, the jump squat is simply an explosive version of the squat, in which you jump and your feet leave the ground. The jump squat is typically performed with body weight or a lighter weight than a regular squat, and is excellent for improving power and explosiveness. It is also a great cardio workout! And if you’re not holding a weight, you can swing your arms overhead as you jump and back down when you land.
10. Hack Squat: The hack squat is performed by holding a barbell behind your body, then squatting and touching the weight to the ground, before standing again. It places very little stress on the low back, while primarily strengthening the quadriceps (the front of your legs).
11. Single Leg Squat: The single leg squat can be tough, but is great for getting better balance, improving your side-to-side stability, boosting athletic performance, and teaching your legs how to generate strength in isolation. Be sure to keep your back and knees in proper alignment while doing this squat, even if that means you need to put a hand out and touch a wall or rail for balance.
12. Overhead Squat: There’s nothing like an overhead squat to challenge your mobility or identify a tight spot in your body. To perform this version of the squat, hold a barbell, broomstick, or other weight overhead as you squat. This requires excellent shoulder range-of-motion and good balance too, which is why it can be used to identify flexibility or balance deficits.
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