Make Leg Day Fun: 5 Type Of Squats And What Muscles It Targets
Give your usual leg-day a makeover. These five variations of squats are all you need for a killer lower body workout.
Leg day at the gym can be intense and tiresome as you work on your quads, core, and glutes. According to a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, heavy or intense workouts for legs promote neural cells in the brain that instigate recovery from workout stress and boost strength to make you ready for the upcoming challenges.
Squats are a great addition to your workout. The exercise targets the glutes, core, and quads. You can make your leg day fun without making it a tough challenge by integrating variations in your workout regime. According to a 2014 randomised clinical research published in the Journal of Strength And Conditioning Research, variations in exercises are equally effective as changing the workout intensity. These 5 types of squats will give you different results, take a look.
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1. Dumbbell Front Squat
- Stand with feet a ship-wide distance apart, holding dumbbells in each hand in front of your chest.
- Keep your head up and lower your hips down, pushing your knees outwards till you are in a squat position as low as your hips can go.
- Push your heels back up to the initial position. Repeat 3 sets of 12 reps.
Benefits: Targets and tones quadriceps and gluteus maximus (butt muscles).
(a) Keep your heels planted firmly on the floor.
(b) Avoid rounding your lower back while performing this exercise.
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2. Squat Jack
- Stand with feet together, hands clasped in front of your chest.
- Jump and place your feet shoulder-width distance making a squat position simultaneously. Pretend as if you are about to sit on the chair.
- Putting weight in your heels, jump back to the starting position. Repeat 2 sets of 10 reps.
Benefits: Strengthens calves, hamstrings, core, glutes, and quads.
Avoid jumping too low or too high to gain maximum benefit from the exercise.
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3. Sumo Squat Swing
- Start with holding a kettlebell in both hands, keep it between your thighs and bend your knees into a squat.
- Keeping your knees bent, drive your hips back, squeeze your glutes and push them forward raising your arm to about shoulder height.
- In one movement, reverse the motion to return to the starting position. Do 1 set of 12-15 reps.
Benefits: Targets inner thigh, hips, core, abs, glutes, hamstrings, and calves muscles.
(a) Avoid rounding your back when lowering down.
(b) Ensure you are not going too fast.
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4. Squat To Lateral Leg Lift
- Stand at a hip-width distance, hands clenched together in front of your chest. Do a squat by lowering your hips to make your thighs parallel to the floor.
- Keeping your feet firmly on the ground, raise, and straighten your legs. Lift right leg out towards the side by squeezing glutes.
- Get your foot back to hip-width distance and squat again. Stand and lift your left leg sidewards. Bring back leg to the starting point. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
Benefits: Side lift works on abdominal muscles, hard-to-reach obliques, thighs, and glutes.
(a)Stop the exercise if you feel intense pain in your back by lifting your legs sidewards.
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5. Overhead Squat
- Stand with your feet at a shoulder-width distance. Place the barbell across your shoulders on the base of your neck.
- Tighten your core, bend your knees, and lower your hips a few inches below, aligning your thighs with the floor. Holding firmly the barbell and keeping your feet grounded, with full force extend your hands above your head
- Keep your chest up, look straight, and squat down ensuring your control and mobility. Use pressure on your feet, glutes, quads, and core to pull yourself up to the standing position. Exhale as you rise and perform this exercise slowly along with the breath.
- Carefully bending your elbows, return the barbell onto the shoulders. Repeat in 3 sets of 3 reps.
Benefits: Increases full-body mobility and flexibility.
(a) Avoid leaning forward when lifting the barbell over your head.
(b) Stop the workout if your ankles or hips suffer pain or unbalance due to barbell lifting.