These Variations Will Help You Get Large Legs!
The squat is considered the king of the lifts. Like the pull-up for back and bench press for chest, when you think legs, the first exercise that should come to mind is the classic barbell back squat. As much as this classic exercise can help you build a powerful and developed lower body, there are people who might avoid for one of two reasons.
- The movement is an uncomfortable one for them and they feel it more in the back than the legs.
- They’re intimidated by the difficulty of the movement and don’t want to feel weak because they can’t handle using heavy weight.
Just because the most famous version might be one that they don’t like, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t squat at all. There are several variations of the squat that can help you make serious gains if you add them into your routine. Consider one of these four variations and you can prove to yourself that you do know squat about training legs. We also will share an all squat leg day for you to try so you can master all of these movements.
Barbell Hack Squat
This movement looks like a reverse deadlift but it will target your quads primarily. Place a barbell behind you and stand straight with feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Squat down and grab the barbell behind you with an overhand grip. Keep the back arched and your chest out. Using force from your legs and while holding the bar as tight as you can, stand up with the weight until your legs are straight and you’re standing tall with the bar. Keep your chin up at all times. Make sure your knees don’t extend past your toes. Slowly lower the weight back to the floor and repeat for the desired number of reps.
This version is a good one to help you achieve depth if you have trouble squatting down to parallel. You will need a kettlebell or dumbbell for this movement. Stand with feet a little wider than shoulder width apart. If you use a kettlebell, grab it by the horns (sides of the handle) and hold it right underneath your chin. If you’re using a dumbbell, hold one end of it with your palms facing up on either side of the weight and position it under your chin. Keep your chest out. While holding your weight in this position, bend your knees and your hips and lower your butt until the top of your thighs are below parallel with the floor. Once you achieve this position, pause for a second before returning to a standing position. Look straight ahead and keep your chin up throughout the exercise. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
Dumbbell Squat Jump
If you need to work on your vertical jump then this is the exercise for you. Stand straight and tall with a dumbbell in each hand and arms down to your sides. Your feet should be shoulder width apart you’re your toes pointed straight ahead. Bend your knees and hips to lower your butt down until the tops of your thighs are below parallel with the floor. Once you achieve this position, use as much force in your legs as possible to push yourself up and jump as high as you can. Maintain a strong hold of the weights this entire time and keep your arms to your sides. Once your feet return to the floor, stand with a soft bend in your knees for a second before performing the next rep. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
This is a movement that will involve core strength as well as leg strength. Make sure you’re close to a squat rack for this one. Lift a bar so it’s resting on your forearms. It should look like your arms are crossed across your torso with a barbell resting in between. Step away from the rack and stand with a shoulder width stance. Bend your knees and hips and lower your butt down as far as you can until the top of your thighs are at least parallel to the floor. If you can go deeper then do so. Once you achieve this depth, use force in your quads to return to the standing position. Maintain a straight spine and keep your chest out throughout the movement. Don’t drop down quickly because you might lose balance. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
All Squat Workout
This workout will not be easy, especially if you’ve never done these movements before. Make sure you can perform each one to the point you’re familiar and comfortable before you start working with heavier weight and trying this full routine. Also you should have Re-Kaged close by so you can start recovering as soon as you finish training because the 28 grams of protein, 3 grams of glutamine, and 1.5 grams of creatine HCl will not just be handy in helping you recover. It will be vital.
- 5 minute warmup on treadmill with 5% incline and walking at 2.5-3.0 miles per hour.
- 5 minutes of stretching the entire body but emphasize the lower back, core, and legs.
- Zercher Squat – 2 warm up sets of 15-20 reps. 3 work sets of 10-12 reps.
- Barbell Hack Squat – 3 work sets of 10-12 reps.
- Dumbbell Squat Jump – 3 work sets of 15 reps with 10 second rest pauses and performing more reps to failure after each set.
- Goblet Squat – 3 sets of 20 reps.
Rest for no more than 90 seconds after each set. If you feel ready to go sooner than 90 seconds, start your next set.