five squat variations from the bod

Squat Variations That Will Seriously Work Your Butt

We all know squats are a go-to staple when it comes to sculpting the lower body of our dreams. But this booty-building exercise has benefits that go way beyond perking that peach. 

As well as the ability to strengthen almost every muscle in your lower body, including glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, they help to fire up the core (hello, abs!), increase stability, and improve balance. 

Of course, you'll only reap the benefits of squat variations if you perform them properly. As with all exercises, correct form and comfort is important to avoid the risk of injury. 

Here a few things to remember to help get your squats on point:

  • Press your knees outward throughout the movement - don’t let them cave in.
  • Keep your core tight and torso upright, squeezing your glutes at the top of the squat.
  • Comfortable and squat-proof leggings are your best friend on leg day. 
  • Select a pair of durable shoes to give you the support you need. 
  • Always warm up and activate your glutes ahead of your workout. 

With these tips in mind, you can add a whole slew of different types of squats to maximise your lower body days and target each muscle differently. To help switch up your next booty workout, here are five squat variations that seriously work your butt: 

AIR SQUAT

Why we love it: The OG of squats and where it all began. It’s the foundation for all other squat variations so it’s important to nail this move first. This bodyweight squat is a great way to build baseline strength before loading on the weights. 

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart in a comfortable stance, with your hands out in front of you or at your sides for stability. 
  2. Hinge at your hips, then knees as if you were going to sit in a chair. 
  3. Go as low as you can without placing any pressure on your joints, but instead focus on your muscle contractions.
  4. Straighten your legs to return to a standing position.

SUMO SQUAT

Why we love it: The difference between the Sumo Squat and Air Squat is the placement of the feet, which impacts the muscles worked. This variety of squat places more emphasis on your inner thighs, glutes, and core muscles than a conventional squat.

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet in a wide stance with your feet facing out.
  2. Squat down to below parallel as if you were going to sit on a chair.
  3. Push through the heels to push yourself back up to the starting position. This is one repetition.

ELEVATED HEEL SQUAT

Why we love it: By elevating your heels, your centre of balance shifts back and allows your hips to sink deeper into the squat, which ultimately helps recruit more muscle fibres and strengthen your quads. Heel elevation also helps to take the stress out of your calves.

How to: 

  1. Start with the same set up as an air squat with your feet just wider than shoulder width apart. 
  2. Place your heels either at the edge of a platform, step or on a weight plate. 
  3. Engage your core, then hinge at your hips and bend at the knees.
  4. Ensure your knees travel over your toes while in the bottom range of the movement. 
  5. Drive from your heels into the floor and stand upwards, allowing you to lock your hips at the top of the movement. This is one repetition.

PULSE SQUAT

Why we love it: The benefit from pulsing is that you are constantly stimulating and engaging a range of muscles, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core. That constant tension makes these muscles put in the work and they’re a great exercise to help you build endurance. 

How to:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your hands out in front of you or at your sides for stability.
  2. Bend at the hips first, then knees as if you were going to sit in a chair.
  3. Go as low as you can without placing any pressure on your joints, but instead focus on your muscle contractions.
  4. Come up slightly and squat back down to the bottom position before straightening your legs back up to return to a standing position. This is one repetition.

JUMP SQUAT

Why we love it: Jump squats are the power-packed version of squats. You not only exhaust more energy, but also flex your muscles more. Jump squats increase your explosive power, improve upper and lower body strength, and burn calories faster than regular squats.

How to: 

  1. Position your feet at shoulder width. 
  2. While keeping your back straight and chest up, squat down so your upper thighs are parallel or lower to the floor. 
  3. Pressing mainly with the balls of your feet, jump straight up in the air as high as possible. 
  4. When you touch the floor again, immediately squat down and jump again. Perform for the number of prescribed repetitions.

Try adding 2-3 of these squat variations to your next lower body strength session or cardio workout and get ready to feel those glutes fire up!

What's your favourite squat, sis? Let us know below!   




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