Squats are one of the best exercises anyone can do at the gym or at home.

They are perfect for gaining muscle, losing weight or toning. Squatting is important because it hits so many muscles at the same time, truly making it one of the more effective total body exercises available.

While there are several variations of squats, I am going to share with you my 6 favorite variations.

 

Bodyweight Squat

Body Weight Squat

The body-weight squat engages 10 distinct muscle groups, including your back, legs, abdominals and glutes.

Best For:

  • Improving Body Composition
  • Losing Fat
  • Improving Sports Performance

Avoid If:

  • You have recurring pain in your knees or hips. You will want to address these issues first with the help of a personal trainer, doctor or physiotherapist.

Back Squat

Back Squat

Best For:

  • Functional Lower Body Strength 
  • Helps develop speed, power and athletic performance

Avoid If: 

  • You’ve had back pain or injury in the past.
  • The bar on your shoulder may compress the disks in your back. In this scenario, stick to body weight squats which are just as effective.

Hack Squat

Hack Squat

Best For:

  • Individuals who want to lift heavier weight
  • Primarily targets your Quadriceps as well as your glutes, hamstrings, calves, and lower back
  • Improving Your Grip Strength

Avoid If:

  • You’re not comfortable with the movement. It takes some time to get used to this awkward lift. The position is unnatural

Wide Stance Squat

Wide Stance Squat

Best For: 

  • Pure Strength
  • Lower Body Muscle Development
  • Building Muscle More Quickly
  • Building Functional Strength
  • Activating More Muscle Fibres

Avoid If:

  • You have back or shoulder problems. The extra weight adds additional stress on your spine and joints.

Front Squat

Front Squat

Best For: 

  • Core Strength
  • Lower Body Muscle Development
  • Building Functional Strength
  • Increases Stability

Avoid If: 

You have hip or abdominal injuries. The bar placement creates a lot of pressure on these areas and if you have any underlying injuries or past injuries, you’ll run the risk of aggravating them or causing a re-injury.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian Split Squat

Best For:

  • Balance & Coordination
  • Quadriceps Development
  • Fat Loss
  • Increasingi Stability

Avoid If:

  • You’re more interested in strength or power. This move requires less weight so you’ll be less likely to gain strength or power due to this.

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