Squat Routine Variations for Fun and Muscle

Today I have a guest post for you today regarding one of my favourite gym exercises: the squat.

A fast trip to the gym can still yield great results if you’re doing squats. You may have heard that they’re the ultimate all-in-one exercise, and they are, but if you want to get even more out of them, mix up the form and add some free weights to build muscle in all the major groups at once. For more dynamism in the workout, do weighted lunges. If you travel a lot or have an uneven amount of time to work out, a flexible gym membership and a squat-based routine can keep you in good form.

Two fitness women doing squat exercise workout outdoor. Female coach correcting knee position for legs exercising.

First, perfect your squat

Before adding weights, be sure you have the following details down in your basic move:

  1. Lower yourself slowly to keep both the balls of your feet and your heels firmly on the floor for the entirety of the movement.
  2. For the exercise to be effective and not injurious to your knees, you need to go down to at least the point where your thighs are parallel to the floor, if not a little beyond.
  3. Don’t tuck your tailbone or arch your back.

In the free weight variations, go as slowly as you need to in order to keep good form.

Add some cardio

Working in 30-second intervals for a total of 5 minutes or more, do as many squats as you can in each interval. Don’t lose your form, but try to work up a little speed and increase your reps in 30 seconds. Rest for just a few seconds between sets. Do some sets with your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side, and some with your arms raised and palms facing outward.

To turn up the cardio, jump as you come up out of the squat. Try to start with two sets of 10. Your heart will really get pumping here.

Add a weight plate

Grip a barbell weight on either side and hold it out in front of you, keeping your arms straight, as you lower into a squat. You’re developing static strength in your shoulders, deltoids, and arms, and this variation really forces you to keep your core stable.

Hold ‘the chalice’

Hold a weight with your arms bent, close to your chest, and perform your squat. Your upper arms will love this one!

With just a few variations in your squat routine, you will find yourself getting stronger and your balance improving. And you’ll free yourself from the treadmill.

If you’d like to benefit from a flexible gym membership, you’ll find gyms offering this kind of accessibility throughout the country, with some notable locations including Lewes Leisure Centre, The Rapids Romsey, Pemberton Centre Rushden and Clifton College Sports Centre.

Do you go to the gym?

What’s your favourite strength exercise?

What’s your favourite squat variation?

8 Replies to “Squat Routine Variations for Fun and Muscle”

  1. When I went to the physio a couple of years ago I discovered that I had been squatting all wrong! As soon as I went down into a squat, I subconsciously twisted my right foot out to the side, which put added pressure on one glute. I’m really conscious now about making sure that both feet are facing forwards before I dip down.
    How random that you have linked to the Pemberton Centre in Rushden, as that is about 2 miles from my house! It’s where I tend to go on a Pay-as-u-gym pass!
    Mary recently posted…34 weeks pregnantMy Profile

  2. I just wrote a comment, but for some reason it didn’t post?…
    Anyway, I found out a couple of years ago at a trip to the physio that I had been squatting all wrong. When I went down for a squat I sub-consciously always twisted my right foot out to the side, which then put more pressure on one glute than the other. I’m really conscious now about ensuring both feet are facing squarely forwards before dipping down.
    Also, how random that you linked to the Pemberton Centre in Rushden. It is literally about 2 miles from my house and the gym I tend to go to with Pay-as-u-gym when I can’t run!
    Mary recently posted…34 weeks pregnantMy Profile

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