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Blog Post: How to Change up Your Squats

By doing different variations of squats, you will sculpt, tone and strengthen your legs and increase your fitness level.

I hope you have been practicing your form, because this week we are going to work on two different variations. By doing different variations of squats, you will emphasize different areas of the muscle groups that the squat exercise hits. If you have not read our previous post on basic squat form and what muscles it hits, please review your .

The first variation is what we call a sumo squat (also known as the plie squat). With this variation your feet will be wider than your basic squat. So you are in a wide stance with your toes pointed out. As you come down keep your core engaged and your back up right. As you get to about 90 degrees begin to push back up through your heels, feel as though you are trying to draw your heels together. When you reach the top really give the glutes a good squeeze almost as though you are tucking your hips up under you. The sumo squat will emphasize the inner thigh and glutes, especially if you focus on the squeeze of the glutes at the top of the squat. Work on doing three sets of 15 reps of the sumo squat.

The second variation is what we call a quick squat. This type of squat your feet and knees are pushed together (there will be no space between your knees and feet). As you come down, push your butt back keeping your knees directly over your feet and your back up right. Try to go down to 90 degrees or slightly lower if your flexibility allows for it. When you push back up, drive through your heels. The quick squat will target the outside of the hip and glute as well as the outside of the quad. Work on doing three sets of 15 reps of the quick squat.

Here is a good circuit to work on that will include your basic squat:
- 2 sets of (get warmed up first)
- 2 sets of sumo squats
- 2 sets of quick squats

Now repeat this all over again. Add some jumping jacks in between to add a cardio element to get that heart rate pumping. This will give you a quick yet efficient workout!

Practice your forms, because next week we will add in an agility element to our squats that will challenge your body to the max!

Jessica Unbewust
co-owner
ferrum fitness

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Leigh Datzker August 07, 2012 at 06:39 PM
Squats are perhaps the most dangerous exercise for people over the age of 30 as this exercise can damage your knees, injure your back, and create bulk for women that cannot be rescinded. Don't know why trainers think squats are good for anyone. I have been working out since 1973 and find don't see squats has being a good exercise. May I suggest cycling as a safer alternative which actually produces better results suc as creating leg strength, cutting of musculature, and of course, bone and cardiac health as well, Many of us who are in excellent shape in our 50's utilize cycling as a more effective workout than lower body weight training and you can do it inside or outside.
Jessica Unbewust August 07, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Leigh I do love cycling and it is a great workout and think most should work cycling into their workout regime. I have to disagree with your point about how squats make you bulky, it all depends on how you train. If you are loading a good amount of wait onto your back it will build bulk and can really hurt the knees and lower back especially if you do the exercise with bad form. Myself and Ferrum Fitness ALWAYS advocate proper form and posture to avoid injury. Squatting is actually a very natural movement for the human body to preform, we are hunters and gatherers. Gatherers meaning we squat down and hinge to pick and gather berries, grains, nuts and all kinds of seeds, veggies and fruits. A supported squat is a great way to start off squats, this takes much of the pressure out of the knees and lower back, most people may never need to move on from this phase provided their fitness background and injuries. If you are doing 20 or 30 reps with just your body weight of supported squats you will feel a good burn in the glutes and quads. This will help to keep your hip socket lubricated and loose. This is the type of squat I have been doing and it has been great for me and many of my clients how I train.
Leigh Datzker August 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Jessica, You can use cycling in lieu of squats and get better, enduring results without the potential for injury, especially if wearing quality cycling shorts which also have a compression feature. You can use the cleats as a fulcrum, 'digging' in at varying degrees of resistance, utilizing better bio-mechanics, which is much more fluid in motion, than old time squats. If you talk to a sports medicine doctor you will see the hazards in promoting squats. Don't believe your clients have been out hunting or gathering for a few centuries as well, unless they drop the bag of fruit or nuts at Trader Joes and have to kneel to retrieve the bag.

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