The Best 9 Bodyweight Squat Variations to Maximize Your Legs and Butt Workout

The squat is known as the “Queen” of exercises.

Few exercises have the potential to increase your strength, change your body composition, burn fat and make you feel like a superman in the gym, like the squat.

The problem is that most people don’t perform the squat correctly… and, in the end, it is understandable.

Muscles working on the squat:

Photo Source: Weight Training. Guide

Legs – quadriceps, femoral biceps, abductors, and calves

Glutes – round and toned buttocks

Middle – abs and obliques for a defined waist.

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9 Benefits of Squats:

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• Squats develops our muscles

• Increase mobility

• The squat improves our balance

• The squat sculpts and define your legs

• Helps get rid of cellulite

• It helps you a lot to lose weight.

• Improve the posture

• Reduce the risk of injury

• Improve bone health

These are just a few benefits that will help us move more efficiently with age.

Squats are a natural and functional movement and can be done with or without equipment in different variations.

The proper execution of the standard squat:

Photo Source: Real Simple

•      Plant your feet on the ground. Keep your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width. Straighten your back. 

•      Bend your knees. Pretend as though you are going to sit back in a chair. Keep your heels on the ground. Pull in your abs. Keep your back straight in a neutral position throughout the exercise.

•      Lower yourself in a controlled manner. As you go down, push your hips back. Go as low as your body can while still keeping your shins vertical and your heels on the ground. From the lower position, push up off your heels and slowly rise balancing by leaning forward as necessary.

•      If you can, aim to lower yourself until your hips sink beneath your knees. If you are just starting you may not be flexible enough to go this low. Work your way up to this level.

•      Inhale as you lower. Exhale as you rise.

•      Look forward as you squat to help keep your form correct.

•      Extend your arms straight forward to help your balance. This will also help you keep your shins vertical.

•      Repeat. 

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The best 9 squat variations:

When it comes to squat or any other exercise that makes you stronger and faster, you need variety to sustain adaptations, stay motivated, and prevent injuries.

There are many variations of the squat, finding one suitable for everyone is easy, regardless of age, sex, and physical condition; this is because the squat works the whole body.

However, if you are new to exercise, I urge you to start by doing the classic squat, using only your body weight.

Below you will find the best 9 bodyweight variations of the squat, put in a random order, to help you maximize your leg and butt training.

1. Bulgarian Split Squat

2. Sumo Squats

3. Jump Squat

4. Wall Sit

5. Squat with Lateral Lift

6. One Leg Squat (Pistol Squat)

7. Plie Squat

8. Skater Squat

9. Cossack Squat

1. Bulgarian Squats

The Bulgarian squat is an excellent exercise for developing lower-body strength and stability while posing a lower injury risk than many traditional lower-body resistance exercises.  

Targets: work the glute muscles as well as the upper leg muscles.

How to do it:

•     Place your rear foot facing forward on an elevated platform; 3 to 5 inches in height is sufficient. (I like using one or two weight plates.) You can stand on the ball of your rear foot with it placed flat or on your tiptoes.

•      Place your front foot with ample space forward to perform a squat. Your front foot can be pointed forward or slightly outward. (The outward position is easier for beginners.)

•      During the movement, your upper body should remain fixed in an upright position. You can initially do the move with just your body weight.

•      During the descent, keep your torso above your hips at all times.

•      As you descend slightly forward, maintain your torso and hips over your center of gravity—which should be the midpoint between your feet.

2. Sumo Squats

The Sumo Squat involves a variation on foot placement that helps target your leg muscles in different ways. In a sumo squat, for example, you incorporate a bit more inner thigh than in traditional squats. 

 This can be a nice variation to add to your routine if you need a new challenge.

How to do it: 

•      Begin in a wide stance with toes out at a comfortable angle. Your knees will need to stay aligned with your toes, so don’t go out too far.

•      Bend the knees and lower down into a squat, keeping knees in line with toes, abs contracted, and back straight.

•      Only go down as low as you can without compromising your flexibility.

•      Push back to start without locking the knees.

3. Jump Squat 

It is a plyometric movement, which means that you perform aerobic exercises for this type of squat. Therefore, you need to make as many moves as possible in the shortest time possible.

The technique of jump squat is identical to that of classic squat, but when you get up from the ground, push a little more with your heels and jump.

How to do it: 

•      Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, hands in front of your chest.

•       Engage your core and keep your chest lifted and back flat as you shift your weight into your heels, push your hips back, and bend your knees to lower into a squat.

•       Jump as high as you can, swinging your arms down by your sides for momentum. Keep your back straight and chest lifted.

•       Land with soft knees for 1 rep.

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4. Wall Sit

Although it is not a dynamic type of squat, you will require thigh and buttock muscles.

How to do it:

•     Sit with your back to the wall and slowly move to the squat position. The back and head must always touch the wall. Slowly move your feet away from the wall to create the basic squat position – your knees are bent at a 90 ° angle, your toes are pointing forward and your thighs are parallel to the floor.

•     You should stay in this position for at least 30 seconds. 

You can place a dumbbell or a kettlebell on your knees to make the exercise more difficult.

5. Squat with Lateral Lift

How to do it:

•     Sit in the starting position of the classic squat and slowly lower.

•     Stay in this position, do not stand up, but take a step to the side with your right foot.

•     Make sure your thighs are always at the same height during this movement.

•     Then repeat the same movement with your left foot so that you return to the squat position. You can repeat the movement several times to one side and then change the part.

You can also use an elastic band to make this exercise more difficult.

6. One Leg Squat (Pistol Squat)

An ideal exercise for the best possible training of the thigh and buttocks muscles, but also to obtain better stability.

How to do it:

•     Stand with your back straight, look forward, feet slightly apart and knees slightly bent, stretch your hands forward and raise one foot above the ground as high as you can; this is the starting position

•     Slowly lower yourself to the squat position and lift the leg you are not using to be able to perform the movement completely; pay close attention to balance!

•     Sit for a second in the lower position and then slowly return to the starting position, pushing the floor with the heel of the foot with which you perform the squat

•     Perform the recommended reps with one leg and then continue with the other.

7. Plie Squat

This squat is inspired by ballet and is very popular, especially among women.

How to do it:

•     Take the sumo squat position with your legs apart, extend your arms sideways or forward, and lower yourself to your knees.

•     In the case of plie squats, the weight does not remain on the heel, but passes on the fingertips.

•     Therefore, sit on your toes and move your knees away from your body so that you feel as much pressure as possible on your inner thigh muscles.

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8. Skater Squat

Photo Source: The Exercist

This squat variation can address any imbalances you have. It’s great for balance, it is also tremendous for your core. Your quads will be on fire.

How to do it:

•     Stand up straight, feet slightly apart

•     Bend one of the legs backward, the knee should be facing the ground

•     Bend slightly with your hand at the bent leg as if you want to touch the ground while the bent leg goes back (keep the knee bent, do not stretch the leg)

•     Return

9.  Cossack Squat

The Cossack Squat is a form of mobility where you descend with most of your weight on the squatting leg while keeping the other leg straight and to the side with the toe facing the ceiling. 

How to do it:

•      Take a wider than shoulder-width stand, the leg you’re squatting down to, the heel should stay on the floor and turned out about 30-40 degrees, the other leg is turned out straight with the toe pointing out towards the sealing.

•      The arms are going to be in front of us and they will have a role of counterbalance. 

•      The back should be straight during the movement, but you can lean forward with your upper body.

Last Thoughts:

After performing squats, you should not feel any unusual pain, and at the end of the workout, you should give your body enough time to regenerate.

I hope you were inspired by my exercises. Do not hesitate and try new things to increase your confidence. Remember that the only thing that matters is the correct technique of performing all the exercises.

Do you have any types of squats you’ve tried before? I’m waiting for your answer in the comments section and if you liked my article, don’t forget to share it.

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