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14 Different Squat Variations

Squat Variations

These are squat variations. Squats are considered one of the best exercises for all around leg strength as well as upper body musculature depending on whether or not weight is involved. Although this is a great exercise, squats can cause more complication than benefit if someone has muscle imbalance.


If you are just getting started with exercising, I would be cautious of how your body feels while performing the squat. Do you feel pain, weakness on one side of the body, is it hard to get passed a certain depth, etc. I would also keep it to just regular and half squat exercises to start and add more variety once you become more advanced.

Also, do not perform squats without foam rolling your legs prior. It’s important to make sure your muscles are taking on the bulk of the load and force and NOT your joints.

Pointers: For these squats, be sure to keep your knees behind your toes. If your knees bend in front of your toes you placing a lot of stress on the knee joint. Think about pushing your butt back and driving through your heels

Also, as with any workout routine, make sure you foam roll and perform some dynamic stretches prior to exercising.

Regular Squats

Keep your knees behind your toes! Remember to focus on your breathing, breathe out on the way up. This breathing becomes more and more important as you begin to add weight.

Half Squats/Pulses

Half squats are the down part of a squat but only come up half way. I could be a tad bit lower in my demonstration.

Side Squat

Think about pushing your butt back and keeping your toes forward. This may feel awkward at first but the more reps you do, the better it will start to feel.  Make sure you keep the opposite leg straight.

Platform Squat

Squat Jumps

When performing squat jumps be sure to land in the squat and not on straight legs. Landing on straight legs is a lot of force on the joints.


Start with a more narrow base squat, then regular squat base, then wider base squat.

Sumo Squat

Point your toes outward. You still want to press through your heels on this exercise, the target muscles will be the adductors (muscles on inside thigh).

Frog Squats

This exercise will be a challenge for you if you have tight glutes and hamstrings. You will want to get your glutes as close to your heels as possible. Bring your hips up to about knee level when your raise up.

Bench Squats

You can use a smith machine, squat rack, or dumbbells. Touch your butt to the bench as you squat then press up through your heels. Do not sit and hang out on the bench, it’s there to use as a baseline.

Reverse Squat from Bench

For this exercise, sit for at least two seconds, then perform the “up” movement of a squat. Try not to lean forward and gain momentum as you stand, press up from the heels and engage your hamstrings and glutes. This exercise emulates getting up from a chair.

TRX Squats

TRX Squats are good for the older population as they can hold themselves up while performing the squat. This is also good to use as a warm up prior to a lower body workout.

Stability Ball Squats

Great squat for beginners. This will help you focus on form. Lean into the ball and be sure to sit your butt back as you perform the squat.

Single Leg Squat

This one is challenging. You’ll need to focus on balance and keeping your knee behind your toes. Place a bench behind you in case you lose balance and fall backwards.

Heel on Plate Squats

Place your heels on a plate to perform these squats. This exercise will place added emphasis on the quadriceps and remove some calf involvement. So if you are someone with ankle instability issues, this squat will be a good one to start with.

Equipment Needed:

kettle bell

stability ball for squat






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