6 Ways to Upgrade a Basic Squat
Build on a classic squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, chest high, abs drawn in, and hands clasped in front of chest or straight out with palms down.
A: Sit nice and deep, bringing hips to just below parallel.
B: Push into heels to rise to standing.
Do 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps; aim to squat it out 2 or 3 times a week.
This move works your adductors (aka inner thighs) for trimmer, more toned upper legs. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly.
A: Keep chest up and knees out as you lower down as far as possible.
B: Pause, then rise back to start.
To make it harder, try this move on your toes to target your calves. Read: no more cankles!
Split squats will wake up the glutes, which are often turned off thanks to long hours of sitting. Stand with feet a little less than shoulder-width apart; step left foot forward and slightly to the left.
A: Lower down until back knee touches floor.
B: Drive off heel of left foot to stand. Do half of set on left side, then switch.
To make it harder, place your rear foot on a box to add a balance and stability challenge.
This power move is all about those glutes. Better butt, here you come! Start by doing a classic squat, arms in front of you, palms facing in.
A: Once hips are slightly below parallel, jump up explosively, swinging arms behind you.
B: When you land, immediately lower back down.
To make it harder, add a knee tuck to the jump to engage your core more.
This challenges every muscle from core to calf. Stand on a low box (about 6 to 12 inches high): lower hips, stepping right leg out to tap the floor.
A: As you rise, drive right knee high while coming onto ball of left foot.
B: Do half of set on right side, then switch.
To make it harder, use a higher box; you'll have to squat lower to touch the floor.
Adding weight helps you sink lower into hips for better range of motion; it works your abs, too. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 10-pound dumbbell in front of chest.
A: Push hips back and sink into heels until thighs are just below parallel.
B: Push back up.
To make it harder, increase weight for more resistance, or do a shoulder press (upper body move!) after you rise back to standing.