The world is obsessed with butts.
To be fair, butts (or glutes, as would be a more anatomically correct name for them) are a pretty impressive little piece of machinery, putting in the hard yards to keep us moving day in and day out. Running, jumping, walking, swimming, lifting, pushing… whatever movement you’re doing, chances are that your glutes are involved. So it almost goes without saying that if you want glutes with maximum functionality (that also look great in a pair of jeans) then you need some squats in your life.
Squats are one of my all-time favourite exercises for a number of reasons. For starters, as mentioned, they can do some seriously good things for the shapeliness of your butt. And because they recruit so many muscles, they’re a big calorie burning exercise. To top it all off, squats help to build power and strength through your whole lower body, making them a must for all types of athletes. But let’s be honest, doing the same old thing session in, session out can get boring! That’s why it pays to have some squat variations up your sleeve to keep things interesting.
Here are seven simple bodyweight squat variations for you to add into your routine.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart (or slightly wider). Switch your core on, keep your shoulders back and your weight through your heels. Lower yourself into your squat, ensuring the movement stays controlled, your chest proud and your core switched on. Aim to lower yourself to around a 90 degree angle at the knee, and ensure your knees don’t sneak out past your toes. At the bottom of your squat, push back up through your heels and return to your starting position.
Stand with feet shoulder width (or slightly wider) apart and squat down as though you were performing a regular squat. Instead of returning to the top of your squat, push through your heels and raise yourself just a few centimetres before dropping back down. Continue this way, ‘pulsing’ up and down.
Stand with feet shoulder width (or slightly wider) apart and squat down as though you were performing a regular squat. Once you get to the bottom of the squat, stay there. Keep your weight through your heels, your chest proud and core switched on. Aim for a 90 degree angle at your knees.
Stand with feet around double shoulder width apart with your knees and toes facing outwards at a 45 degree angle. Lower into a squat, ensuring your knees continue tracking over your toes (without extending past your toes) and your chest stays proud. Once you reach the bottom of your squat, push back up through the heels and return to your starting position.
Single leg squats
These are one of the most advanced squat variations so don’t beat yourself up if you’re struggling with them. Stand with legs shoulder width apart and arms extended out in front of you, palms facing each other. Lift one foot off the ground, extending it and flexing your toes back towards your body. With your core switched on, lower yourself down into your squat with your knee tracking out over your grounded foot (but not extending past your toes). Control the movement, going only as low as is comfortable while keeping your form solid, then push back up through your heel and return to starting position.
This is one of my all time squat variations! Stand with feet shoulder width (or slightly wider) apart and squat down as though you were performing a regular squat. At the bottom of your squat, explode upwards and into the air. Land softly and lower your body back down into regular squat. Continue with this pattern.
Narrow to wide squat jumps
Stand with your feet almost together and bend your knees, lowering yourself into a narrow squat, keeping your weight through your heels and your chest proud. At the bottom of the squat, explode off the ground (core must be switched on), and land gently in a wide squat position, lowering yourself immediately into your squat. At the bottom of your wide squat, explode off the ground and land gently in your narrow squat. Continue this pattern.
So there you have it, seven simple squat variations for you to add into the mix! Is your favourite in there? Let me know in the comments below.