Shake up your squats… 5 variations to increase strength

Tired of just putting a barbell on your back and going through the usual squatting routine? Have you stopped seeing results? Shake things up a bit and try these variations on your next leg day…

  1. Pause Squat: Exactly what it says, take a pause at the bottom of each squat. Squat down nice and low and come to a complete stop, count 1…2… and then explode up. By adding a pause you are  building explosive strengths in your legs, which will also help to add weight to  your deadlifts .
  2. Tempo Squat: Tempo training is about TUT (time under tension) which is how long the muscle is under tension. It is generally displayed by 4 numbers, for example, barbell squat 3-1-1-0 (Eccentric-Pause-Concentric-Pause) These numbers represent the speed in which you move through a movement. So its: 3sec eccentric, 1sec pause, 1sec concentric, 0 pause. For a squat, the eccentric phase is the lowering, so this would be 3 seconds, followed by a 1 second pause, 1 second push up and finally 0 second pause before starting again. Tempo squats are a good way to really focus on your form, slowing down the movement and making sure your positioned correctly during your lifts. This will be beneficial when the weight increases as that’s when we tend to loose form and injuries can occur.
  3. Sumo Squat: A sumo squat is where your feet are wider than a regular squat (much wider than hips) and your toes are turned out at a greater angle. When lowering your body, aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground. By making these adjustments, a greater emphasis is placed on the glutes and inner thighs, as such, these are great for building a booty.
  4. Bulgarian Split Squat: My coach introduced me to these a few years ago and I have hated him ever since!! Hahaha… Its one of those love/hate exercises because they can be bloody tough! I generally perform them towards the end of a leg session or as a super-set with a machine exercise, to really feel the burn. Basically you need a step or bench, one foot is elevated (engaging the core) and you get into the lunge position. Lower down, keeping your knee in line with your foot, don’t let your knee travel in front of your toes. Push through the front leg to stand up. You can also add dumbbells to this exercise for greater resistance.

5. Goblet Squat: This is the last exercise I do on leg day, to really exhaust those muscles. You can do high reps and allow your legs to burn! For this one you need a kettle bell or dumbbell. Hold the weight in both hands, against your chest. Feet should be just wider than shoulder width apart. Squat down low, keeping your feet on the ground, elbows tucked in, brace abs and push back up. Remember, this isn’t a heavy weight exercise, its a high rep exercise, so don’t load yourself up with weight and force your body to fall forward. Light weight, high reps…

The humble squat is such a versatile exercise, so if you find yourself getting bored with the conventional squat, don’t be afraid to shake things up.


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