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Learn All Different Kinds of Squat Exercises: For Beginners and the Advance

written by: Nicky LaMarco • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 2/22/2010

Squats are an easy way to tone the lower body. Learn all different kinds of squat exercises that target different parts of the lower body.

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    Squats: Lower Body Toners

    Squats are an excellent exercise to strengthen and tone the lower body. They target the muscles of the hips, glutes, and thighs. Squats can be done almost anywhere and no equipment is necessary. There are all different kinds of squat exercises, from easy versions for beginners to ones that are harder for the more advanced.

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    Kinds of Squat Exercises

    There are many different kinds of squat exercises. Here are some of the most popular variations:

    Chair Squat

    Stand in front of a chair with your feet about shoulder width apart. Contract the abdominals. As you keep them tight, bend the knees and slowly squat towards the chair. Be sure to keep the knees behind the toes as you lower your body onto the chair for a few seconds. Lift yourself out of the chair by extending the legs and contracting the glutes and hamstrings. Continue to extend the legs until you are in a standing position. To progress, squat down until you are hovering over the chair.

    Overhead Squat

    Stand, holding a bar overhead with an overhead grip, and your hands wider than shoulder width. Pull your shoulder blades together, keeping the bar in line with, or behind your ears. Lower your body into a squat. As you are squatting, imagine you are pulling the bar apart and pushing up on it. When your thighs are parallel with the floor, pause. Push yourself back into a standing position. To progress, trade the bar for a pair of dumbbells.

    Split Squat

    This move is done by doing a similar movement as the walking lunge, just without the “walk” . Remain in a stationary position and lower yourself down to the ground, bending at the knee. Once you have gone down, rise up to the standing position. Switch to the opposite side and repeat. Tip: The further away you place your front leg, the more you will target the hamstrings. The closer you place your leg, the more it will target the quads.

    Turned Out Squat

    Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and slightly turned out so that they are pointing diagonally. Contract your abdominals and proceed to the squatting position. Once your thighs are parallel with the floor, return to a standing position. Tip: By altering your feet placement, you cause the body to work different muscles in the legs. In this case, turning your feet slightly out works the inner thighs.

    Triceps Plate Squat

    Grab a weight plate and hold it overhead with your arms straight. Be sure that your palms are facing each other. While keeping your eyes forward and chest up, squat while bringing your arms down in front of you. Squat until the weight is beneath your buttocks and your thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to a standing position. Lower the plate toward your back and raise it overhead again. To progress, as you stand back up, rise onto your toes.

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