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Top Bodyweight Squat Variations for Lower Body Strength

    Bodyweight Squat Variations

    If you prefer weightless training, the most powerful exercise to develop your lower body are bodyweight squats. However, after some time you may find it easy to perform and feel you need extra resistance to keep developing.

    That is the point where some of the following bodyweight squat variations I will show you come handy. By adding these exercises to your leg workout routine, you can increase strength and mass of the lower body muscles.

    From the video below you will learn not well-known calisthenics exercises such as the pistol squat, but also several others that you may have never seen before. I particularly like that plyometric squats (squat jumps) are added to this list since these moves boost functional strength. By using a plyometric box, you can make these activities even more efficient, though.

    Ok, so check out the video below.

    Different types of bodyweight squat variations

    The video starts with beginner level exercises. In the end, you can find moves for pro athletes.

    Basic – This is the common leg squat. Place your feet shoulder-width, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.

    Prisoner – I prefer this because it helps to keep my back straight.

    Sumo squat – Perform this move with a wider stance. Therefore, you can focus on your hamstring more.

    Narrow – Thanks to the narrow stance, you can target your quads. Also, because of the instability, it works your core.

    ATG – I prefer going down such deep. This way I can reach the full range of motion. It works for me, although not everyone agrees with it. For example, people having knee problems.

    Side to side – A simple variation to make your training a bit more versatile.

    One-sided – Place more of your body weight to one side. A useful variation to get ready for single leg squats.

    Squat jumps – Various jumping movements are perfect plyometric exercises to develop your explosive power plus your endurance. The typical jump squat alone is enough, but you can add variety to your training by changing your squat position, lifting your knees higher and combine the moves with each other.

    Splits – These are enhanced lunges for gaining power and endurance.

    Pistol – This difficult training gives a total lower body workout. Although, it may require a lot of practice to reach the correct form.

    If you are at a good fitness level, I’m sure you know how to add these weightless squats variations to your workout plan. However, here is a sample program you may find useful.

    leg workout routine

    Weightless squat workout


    What are body squats – Tips for beginners

    If you have just started working out, you may like to know bodyweight squats benefits. Here are a few reasons why you should do them:

    • It is a compound exercise. That means it works more than one muscle group at once. In this case, your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps but since you have to keep you balance it also gain your core. It is particularly ideal for women to shape their hips and butt.
    • It is among the the best bodyweight leg exercises to build lower body strength without going to the gym
    • You do not need any equipment so that you can work out at home.
    • There are a lot of variations to increase the power and the size of your leg muscles. And, some variations are useful for functional strength development.
    • As it was told in the first point, it is a compound leg exercise, so it burns a lot of calories at once leading to weight loss.
    weightless squats muscles worked

    What muscles do body squats work? | Credit:

    However, before trying these variations, you should learn how to perform squats without weights correctly. Just follow the instructions in the following video.


    Calisthenics (bodyweight training) is usually criticized by weight lifters that is not efficient for the lower body. I think these variations are the proof that it is not true at all. A well-organized bodyweight squat workout trains all parts of the lower body bringing great results. Also, they are excellent to burn fat and have many other health benefits. So, do not hesitate to do these moves.


    James Wright

    James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

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