Squats: Five Variations to Bulk Up Your Lower Body
Squats are a powerful tool to bulk up your legs and lower body. But, sometimes the standard squat is not enough. Here are five squat variations that work different angles of the legs.
Front squats are a solid alternative to the standard squat, and probably the most prominent alternative. This variation of squats focuses more on quadriceps and is harder to terminate early before hitting parallel. It still trains the traditional muscles (glutes, hamstrings) despite more of a focus on specific muscle groups. This video by Scott Herman Fitness showcases the correct form on a front squat.
The Overhead Squat is difficult, but can significantly improve your stability and balance if done correctly. The bar is held over your head during the standard squat instead of resting on your back. This forces you to balance and stabilize your core, as well as maintain standard squat form. CrossFit provides an excellent Youtube video on how to perform an overhead squat.
The Hack Squat looks more like a deadlift than a traditional squat, but most experts would say it is somewhere in between. The benefit of doing a hack squat versus a regular squat is for a better focus on the quadriceps, and a lack of compression in the spine. Instead of coming down with the weight, you start from the floor and stretch upwards. Starting off with a light in weight with this exercise is vital to building proper form, or you may suffer injuries. This video by Buff Dudes on Youtube shows the correct way for hack squats.
One-Legged Squats are better to do as a bodyweight exercise instead of a barbell exercise. You can put emphasis on each leg, improve balance and core stability, and build lots of strength all along the leg with this exercise. One-Legged squats are tough to do unassisted at first, so be prepared to fall from time to time when you do them without an assist. But, once you have form and control, the exercise is a great one to add to your workout. 3v has an excellent video that shows the proper way to do a one-legged squat.
The Zercher Squat is another squat variation that has some similarities to a deadlift. In fact, it can be an excellent way to warm up before doing deadlifts. However, it can certainly stand on its own as an exercise. Zercher Squats incorporate the torso and core for control during the squat motion while decreasing the amount of spinal compression in the squat movement. This is another exercise that you should start out with light weight on, as the position of the bar around the elbows is not easy to adjust to. Scott Herman Fitness delivers another excellent video on how to correctly perform a Zercher Squat.Want to know more about the importance of a strong lower body? Click here to read about why leg day and lower body development is a vital component of building your body.