How to Make a Basic Squat More Challenging

Get out of your comfort zone while building strength and burning fat

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Some fitness experts recommend the squat as the one exercise people should do every day if they had no time for anything else. “50 squats a day will keep the doctor away—seriously,” Dr. Christopher Stepien, a sports therapist and chronic pain expert said. “Daily squats will help you mentally and will even give you better yearly check-ups with your primary physician.”

The most obvious benefit of squats is building your leg muscles – quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. These drills also create an anabolic environment, which promotes body-wide muscle building, improving muscle mass. The squats also activate you glute and back muscles.

As is the case with all routines, it’s important not to get stuck with what you’re comfortable. As soon as you don’t feel a little burn when you do a certain exercise, you have to upgrade. Otherwise, you don’t build muscle. Challenge yourself with several variations of the bodyweight squat.

Jump Squat

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Jump squat is a very effective plyometric exercise. Start the drill as you are standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down as this was the standard exercise. Keep your back straight. Then, use your core muscles and jump up. As you land – the quieter, the better because you use muscles to control the movement – lower your back into the original squat position. This is one rep.

Goblet Squat


It’s time to add some weight to the basic squat. The goblet is one of the best ways to build strength. You are basically forced to do a deep squat because of the weight. All lower body muscles are activated. Grab any weight – dumbbell, kettlebell or even a medicine ball. Hold it as chest level and keep it close. Feet should be shoulder-width apart as always. Don’t thrust your hips as you go back up.

Pistol Squat

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The exercise is like a basic squat, except one your legs is extended. Lower yourself slowly. Don’t go beyond a point where you feel extremely uncomfortable because you have to get back up – this is the muscle-building part of the drill. Ideally, you’d squat all the way down until your buttocks almost touch the back of your foot. Don’t put your raised leg down. If you have to, lean against a wall for extra support.

Eagle Squat

This one is tough, and somewhat confusing. You start by standing with your feet close together. Arms are spread out. Lift your left leg over the right one and wrap your left foot behind the right calf. As for the arms: Bring your left one under the right elbow and wrap your palms together. Maintain balance at all times. Squat down as low as you can and return to the original position.



Squats are the go-to exercise for pretty much every part of your lower body. If you find yourself wondering what to do in the gym, do squats and you won’t be wasting your time. But if you want to work out the glutes specifically, do wide squats, also known as plie squats. They target the glute and inner thigh muscles. Open your legs wide to the side. Your toes should be pointing outward as well. Bend you knees as low as you can. Stay in a straight vertical line, please. Hold that position for a few seconds. Get back up and repeat 10-15 times.

Bulgarian Split Squat Prisoner

This is a very effective squat variation working out your quads and glutes. Another name for this exercise is a static lunge.

More readings: 

6 Easy Exercises for a Strong Behind

50 Squats a Day Will Help Keep the Doctor Away

Never Squat in This Machine at the Gym