This post is for that guy at the gym who avoids squatting because:
- They hurt his back
- They hurt his knees
- They hurt his shoulders, wrists, neck, ego…
- Squat only focus on his quads
- He’s trying to focus on his vastus medialis
- Squats are overrated
- He’s not a powerlifter
- He’s not a bodybuilder
- He’s not a football player or sprinter or skater or…
Well, you get the idea.
Just for that guy, I am going to outline all of the different ways that you or him can squat.
Note: I am pretty sure that I will miss something, so feel free to let me know what I missed and I will add it to the post.
1,000,000,001 Different Ways to Squat
In an attempt to organize this master list of squatting options, I decided to organize all of these different lifts into different categories.
- Unilateral / Bilateral
- Stance / Body Orientation
- Position of Load
- Range of Motion
- Tempo or Speed
- Weight of Load as a % of 1 Rep Max Lift
- Lifting Surface
- Training Volume
- Rest Periods
Unilateral / Bilateral
- 1 Leg Squat – free leg held in front of body – knee bent
- 1 Leg Pistol Squat – free leg held in front of body – leg straight
- 1 Leg Box Squat – free leg hangs down
- 1 Leg Squat – free leg placed behind body
- 1 Leg Bulgarian Squat
- 2 Leg Squat
Stance / Body Orientation
- Hips turned out – Toes turned out
- Hips straight – Toes straight – legs shoulder width apart
- Hips & toes straight – narrow stance – legs close together
- Torso held high, chest up, very little forward lean at the hips – bodybuilder style
- Rear end pushed back, large forward lean at the hips – powerlifter style
- More knee flexion than hip flexion during lift – Knees move past the toes during lift
- Equal knee and hip flexion – Knees don’t pass the toes
- More hip flexion than knee flexion – Knees stay well back of the toes – box squat style
- Bodyweight only
- Weighted Vest
- Medicine ball, sandbag, log, tire, rock, person or any other extreme implement
- Machines – Smith machine, Squat machine, Hack Squat machine, etc….
- Cable weight machines
- Benches / Boxes
- Stability balls
Position of Load
- Back Squat – load held on shoulders behind the neck
- Front Squat – load held in front of the neck
- Overhead Squat
- DBs, KBs, etc held in hands at waist height
- Zercher Squats – load held in the “crook” of your elbows at chest/belly height
- Hack Squat – barbell held behind your legs
Range of Motion
- Full squat
- Barely bending your knees Partial Squat
- Everything in between
- 1 and 1/2 squats – squat all the way down, come up half way, go back down and then squat all the way up
- Focusing on a specific range – i.e working only in the bottom 1/4 of the full range focuses the effort strongly on your glutes, while focusing on the top 1/4 focuses mainly on the quads while also making the exercise much, much easier
Tempo or Speed
- There are a number of different systems for classifying lifting speed. For simplicity sake, I will stick with the basics: fast, moderate, slow & pause
- Different speeds of motion can be used for the different portions of the lift: descent, bottom, ascent, top
- You can mix and match the different speeds with the different portions of the lift depending on your training goals
- The typical squatter descends fast, doesn’t pause at the bottom, ascends back up fast and pauses at the top if he needs to rest – not very scientific
- However, another lifter may descend slowly, pause at the bottom to eliminate the bounce he might receive from his stretch shortening cycle, ascend as fast as possible and immediately descend into another squat
Weight of Load as a % of 1 Rep Max Lift
- Your 1 Rep Max Lift is the maximum amount of weight you can successfully lift with good form.
- If you are lifting for strength, you will likely choose a load that is close to your 1 Rep max. A lower percentage load is used when you are performing high reps for muscular endurance or for low reps and high speed in an attempt to develop muscular speed.
- This category is primarily employed by the Bosu or “functional training” crowd
- Most lifters stand on a solid floor, but if it floats your boat, feel free to squat while standing on:
- Balance disks
- a Bosu
- a 1/2 foam roller
- a balance beam
- on top of someone’s shoulders
- Depending on your training goals (power, strength, hypertrophy, endurance, speed), you can choose a variety of reps per set, sets per exercise and total sets/reps per workout
- This category refers to the length of the rest periods taken between sets.
- Short rest periods are used as a tool to develop the trainees anaerobic energy system.
- Long rest periods are used to allow more complete muscular and/or nervous system recovery.
- And as with tempo and load percentage, there is an almost infinite number of positions in between.
Putting it all together…
To be honest, I have no idea how many different types of squats we could make with all of these options.
1,000,000,001 looked impressive, so I went with it…sue me.
But, I do know that my little list ‘o squats should definitely spark your imagination and help you create a new and better squat workout.