7 Types of Squats to Try This Week
Squats! Some people love 'em, some hate 'em and some avoid them all together. The former—those who actually do squats—reap the benefits of these calorie-burning, muscle-building maneuvers. The latter can relate to "skipping leg day."
The squat is a total body exercise. Tricky, right? Those sneaky squats. At first glance, it seems as though they're just for the lower body — which isn't entirely incorrect. But because there are so many moving parts, and muscles called into action, the squat becomes a total body exercise that engages the core, back and arms while supporting the bar, body or both through a big range of motion.
Whether or not you already hit squats on a regular basis, or need some more leg training in your life, these sevent variations promise to deliver a stellar strength and sweat session:
1. Bodyweight squat. The simplest of the squats, the bodyweight version should not be mistaken as being easy — it's anything but. As you drop your butt to the floor, getting back up is the hard part. Begin by squatting as low as you can go. Over time, work to lower your rear lower and lower.
2. Squat hold. Now that you've gotten the hang of going up and down, go down and stay there. That's an isolated squat hold. Beware … you will feel the burn as your legs and core work to prevent a total body collapse.
3. Jump squat. We've done up and down. We've done down and stayed there. Now it's time to "squat and explode." The jump squat requires that you spring from the bottom of the squat, through your heel and hips, into the air. As you come back down, sit all the way back down into the bottom of the squat before repeating the same explosive move.
4. Squat and press. Before we go any further, grab some dumbbells. That's what we'll need for this next move: The squat and press. With the dumbbells (or barbell) racked at chest height, squat down just as we've done a few times so far. This time, while rising out of the squat, use the momentum generated by your hips to send the dumbbells overhead. Return the weight to your chest, and your rear end to the bottom of the squat before repeating.
5 - 7. Front, back and overhead. Last, but certainly not least, are the barbell variations of this strength training series. These variations require a little more practice and more awareness as to how much weight you should use and when it's okay to bump that weight up. That said, there's no shame in starting slow — even if that means using an unloaded barbell. Practice perfect form before packing on more weight.