Squats - they're the exercise we love to hate. Known as the king of all exercises, squats work your hips, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and even your core, all in one move. Admittedly, squats are one of my favorite exercises and with so many variations out there you can literally squat til' you drop.
Here are six of my personal squats of choice.
Six Squats for a Full Body Workout
- Squat Jumps. These squats are my absolute fave. While they always kick my butt, they leave me feeling strong. Squat jumps are a plyometric move (movements where both feet leave the ground at the same time). Squat jumps combine cardio and strength training, spiking your calorie burn. Start in a basic squat position. Now jump, as high as you can, and land softly on the balls of your feet. Personally, I like to swing my arms for a little extra momentum.
- Sumo Squats. Sumo squats target your inner thighs (hello short season!). Start in a sumo stance by standing with your legs wide, toes pointed slightly outward. Push your hips back and bend your knees, squatting until your thighs are in line with your knees. Return to standing or pulse (see next squat variation).
- Squat Pulses. This squat variation gets me every time. Let me tell you, these may look easy but your legs will BURN. Get in a sumo squat position, dropping it low (Flo Rida's "Low" plays in my head whenever I perform this exercise), and pulse. Perform AMRAP for 45 seconds. Want to take it up a notch? Add a dumbbell and squat low enough to graze it on the floor with each rep. Tip: You're using large muscle groups here so don't be afraid of heavier weights.
- Goblet Squats. Another one of my faves. Grab a kettlebell, dumbbell, or medicine ball and hold at the center of your chest. Drop down into a squat, going straight down and then standing straight up. Goblet squats are great for beginners since holding a weight front and center will keep you from leaning forward. Correct posture is everything to an effective movement.
- Squat Jacks. Squat jacks are not for the faint of heart. This is a regular in my TABATA class and I'm always happy to put these behind me. Start in a squat position. Jump your legs out like you would with a jumping jack but stay low in the squat position. Jump your feet back in together. Don't come out of the squat until you've finished the rep. Want to challenge yourself? Keep your hands behind your head as you jack. Don't believe me? Give it a try and see if it doesn't make the movement more difficult. Game on!
- Pistols Squats. Pistol squats are crazy challenging as they combine strength, balance, and mobility all in one movement. From a classic squat position hold your left leg straight out in front of you, arms in front and parallel to your leg. Slowly squat all the way down until your butt is almost to your heel and your lifted leg is fully extended. Now stand back up without falling over or using your lifted leg. Difficult, right? Tip: work up to these by performing the movement with the BOSU and TRX. Once you get the exercise down lose the training wheels.
Want another squat challenge? This 9-minute Squat TABATA workout is the perfect way to exhaust those legs.
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