Make Squats More Fun With These Variations

By Lola George (contributing writer)

I believe that variety is the spice of life. As a personal trainer, I enjoy sharing new exercises with my clients to prevent boredom and plateau in their exercise regimen. Squats are a classic lower body exercise that has proven to yield major results.Here are four equipment-free squat variations that you can include to help spice up your Leg Day:

Squat Pulses.

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Perform a basic squat. Hold yourself in the squat position slightly bouncing up and down to feel tension in the inner thighs and hamstrings. Keep your tailbone tucked and squeeze your glutes with each bounce for added intensity. Hold and pulse for 30 seconds or until you “feel the burn.” *Photo courtesy of Shape Magazine                                                                                                                 

Single-Leg Squats.

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Stand with your legs a little wider than your hips, keeping your feet parallel. Extend one leg and lightly touch the heel to the floor, keeping the majority of your weight in the opposite leg. Reach forward and squat down on one leg until you are in a full squat position. You may use a chair or bench to assist you, by tapping the top of the chair with your buttocks and you squat down. This is one rep. Complete 8-10 repetitions, then change legs and repeat on the opposite leg. Single-leg squats are the perfect exercise to combine lower body strength with balance.*Photo courtesy of Women’s Voice for Change

Squats with Heel Raise.

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Perform a basic squat. While in seated squat position, lift your heels from the floor, squeezing your calf muscles and engaging your abdominals for balance. Return heels to the floor. This is one rep. Complete 8-10 repetitions. The added heel raise allows you to work your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves in one exercise. *Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan                                                                                                          

Squat Jumps.

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Perform a basic squat. Once returning to standing position, jump a couple of inches off of the floor, stretching your entire body from fingers to toes. Return to the ground. This is one rep. Complete 8-10 repetitions. The jump adds some plyometric movement, which sneaks a little cardio into your strength training.

These four squat variations are sure to target your lower body from all angles. Whether performed alone or in a circuit, they will help take your Leg Day to the next level. Share your favorite squat variation below.

Photos courtesy of SportsWomen.ie . 

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