Behold: The humble bodyweight squat. Not only will dropping it like it’s hot strengthen your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, adding squats to your regular workout routine could mean fewer knee injuries . And you’ll increase your bone mass which will help you avoid osteoporosis as you age . Plus, one study shows that increasing lower body strength can help you be a better runner .
We’ve rounded up 40 variations in four different categories—bodyweight, plyometric, weighted, and equipment—for your squatting pleasure (or pain).
1. Basic Squat
Start by standing in the beginning squat position with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, neck straight, and abs tight. Hold your arms out in front of you—straight with palms facing down, bent at the elbows. Or do our favorite arm move: the Aladdin arm cross. Whichever you do, don’t put your hands on your legs. Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself down until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the ground. Push your bottom backward, as if you were sitting on a chair. Don’t worry too much about letting your knees go forward over your toes. It’s a popular myth, but depending on your limb length, flexibility and hip joints, your knees may naturally go over your feet as you squat. As long as it doesn’t hurt, you’re OK. Return to standing.
Got a dominant leg? It’s OK, we all do! Focusing your squat on one leg at a time can help even out muscular imbalances. Start in the beginning squat position. Lift your left leg up, bending the knee slightly to get your foot off the ground. You can hold your raised foot slightly in front or behind you depending on whatever feels more steady. Using only your right leg, lower yourself down as far as is comfortable. Return upright. Try not to put your left foot down between reps; you can use a wall or chair for support if needed. Repeat on the other side, no one wants their biscuits to be unbalanced!
3. Squat Pulses
Perform a basic squat, but instead of returning to standing, stay in the lowest part of your squat with your thighs parallel to the ground and move up and down, keeping the movement small (a few inches up or down) and fast.
4. Pistol Squat
If you want to impress people at parties by squatting (you know, like you do) then bust out the pistol squat. It can be tricky to master but the results are impressive. From a beginning squat position hold your left leg straight out in front of you, arms also in front and parallel to your leg. Slowly squat all the way down until your butt is almost to your heel and your lifted leg is fully extended in front of you with the foot hovering a few inches above the floor. That was the easy part. Now stand back up without falling over or using your lifted leg. If you’re really adventurous you can follow this example. Or just use it as inspiration because, wow. Warning: This one’s a toughie!
5. Chair Squat
Nope, we’re not giving you permission to sit on a chair and take five. Stand with your feet and legs together. Sit backward and down, pushing your hips out behind you. Lift your arms as high as you can, taking care not to let your chest drop. You can return to standing and repeat the squat, or for more of a challenge, hold it.
Stand with your feet and legs together. Hold your arms out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Rise up on your toes and lower down until your rear is almost touching your heels. While still on your toes, return to standing.
7. Eagle Squat
Anyone who thinks squats are boring will love this challenge. Begin by standing with your feet close together and arms out in a T. Lift your right leg over your left leg and wrap your right foot around the back of your left calf. Now bring your right elbow underneath your left elbow, wrapping your right hand around your left forearm until your palms are together. Once you have your balance, squat down as low as you can. Return upright. If anyone looks at you funny just tell them pretzels are your favorite food—that is, if you can still talk. (If all this limb “wrapping” has you confused, just study the picture below.)
See more variations in the originally posted article here: