6 Simple Squat Exercises that Will Transform Your Body

What's the secret to strong hips and thighs? One word: squats! Try these six power moves to get in better shape in no time.

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Dumbbell goblet squat

01-Kinds-of-Squat-Exercises-Dumbbell-Goblet-SquatMichael Bambino & Co.

  1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Cup one end of a dumbbell in the heels of your hands directly underneath your chin, letting the other end of the dumbbell hang and touch your chest.
  2. Tighten your abdominals and push your hips back before bending your knees and lowering yourself down into a full squat where your thighs are below parallel to the floor, as low as you can comfortably go. Be sure not to bend at the waist or come up on the balls of your feet; your weight should be back on your heels.
  3. Drive back up through your heels to the starting position. Repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens all the muscles in your hips and thighs while developing core stability.

Form tip: To avoid injuring the knees, do not bounce when coming up out of the squat.

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Two-stage dumbbell goblet squat

02-Kinds-of-Squat-Exercises-2-Stage-Dumbbell-Goblet-SquatMichael Bambino & Co.

  1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart. Cup one end of a dumbbell in the heels of your hands directly underneath your chin, letting the other end of the dumbbell hang and touch your chest.
  2. Tighten your abdominals and push your hips back before bending your knees and lowering yourself down into a full squat where your thighs are below parallel to the floor, as low as you can comfortably go. This is the first of your two stages. Be sure not to bend at the waist or come up on the balls of your feet; your weight should be back on your heels.
  3. Stand halfway back up (the second of your two stages) before immediately sinking back down into the full squat position, and then immediately stand back up into the starting position. This is one full rep. Repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens all the muscles in your hips and thighs while developing core stability.

Form tip: To avoid injuring the knees, do not bounce when coming up out of the squat.

Dumbbell sumo squat

03-Kinds-of-Squat-Exercises-Dumbbell-Goblet-Sumo-SquatMichael Bambino & Co.

  1. Place a dumbbell on the floor with one head down and one head up. Hover over the dumbbell, standing with your feet wider than hip width apart and your toes turned out to about 45 degrees. Bend your knees and lower yourself down into a squat with your fingertips cupping the head of the dumbbell. Be sure not to bend at the waist or come up on the balls of your feet; your weight should be back on your heels.
  2. Drive back up through your heels to stand upright, still holding the dumbbell with your fingertips cupping its head.
  3. Push your hips back and squat back down until the bottom head of the dumbbell contacts the floor. Repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens all the muscles in your hips and thighs.

Form tip: To avoid injuring your lower back, make sure you lead with your chest—not allowing your hips to come up first—when coming up out of the squat. (Try these moves to ease back pain.)

Dumbbell front squat

04-Kinds-of-Squat-Exercises-Dumbbell-Front-SquatMichael Bambino & Co.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, resting the dumbbells lightly on your shoulders as if in a rack, with your elbows pointed slightly up and your palms facing in.
  2. Bend your knees and lower yourself down into a full squat where your thighs are below parallel to the floor, as low as you can comfortably go. Be sure not to bend at the waist or come up on the balls of your feet; your weight should be back on your heels.
  3. Drive back up through your heels to the starting position. Repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens all the muscles in your hips and thighs.

Form tip: To avoid injuring your back, keep your back straight and do not allow your elbows to dip down toward the floor.

Jump squat

05-Kinds-of-Squat-Exercises-Jump-SquatMichael Bambino & Co.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Place your hands behind your head with your elbows out to the side.
  2. Bend your knees and lower yourself down into a half squat with your thighs parallel to the floor. Be sure not to bend at the waist or come up on the balls of your feet; your weight should be back on your heels.
  3. Drive through your heels and explode back up, jumping off the floor as high as possible.
  4. As you land, keep your knees bent and immediately squat down again until your thighs are once again parallel to the floor. Repeat for the suggested number of reps.

What it does: Strengthens all the muscles in your hips and thighs, while developing total-body power and explosiveness.

Form tip: To protect your knees, avoid landing on the balls of your feet. Instead, land on your whole foot with your weight evenly distributed.

Wall sit

  1. Stand against a wall with your head and back leaning against it.
  2. Slide down the wall, walking your feet out until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position for the suggested amount of time.

What it does: Strengthens the muscles in the front of your thighs.

Form tip: To intensify this exercise, push your feet into the floor as though you were trying to straighten your legs.

For more workout plans to help you at home or at the gym

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My book 60 Second Sweat uses HIIT and metabolic resistance training (MRT) to help you burn fat and build muscle in less time.

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