Alternatives to the squat

If Doing Squats is not for you… Try something new 

Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

For most people, squats are the essential part of leg day. even more so for those who want work on their glutes and build strength in their legs – but as a personal trainer, I have had clients who weren’t fond of squats or couldn’t yet entertain doing them because they have a weak core, weak mobility in their ankles, not yet strong enough, or aren’t comfortable with the movement/ self conscious. Whether you enjoy doing squats or have no interest in learning — I think it is important to see the alternatives to an exercise to aid in variety and to build self confidence in working similar muscle groups. As a trainer, I always stand by the motto “Have a plan A, B, and C” because as a trainer you have to be willing to adapt to your client’s needs and if plan A isn’t in their best interest then to have a Plan B and C to replace A or build up to A would be a better solution than to cancel the workout session – not to mention when you skip an exercise due to the person not being able to manage the movement, you are basically telling your client “you can’t do this” (in turn makes them self conscious and they lose motivation because they feel like a failure). Instead it is better to start with Plan A and if plan A can’t be performed safely with good technique/form then plan B and C should compliment A as either a regression or an exercise that is working as an alternative in order to work the same muscle groups. 

In the same context, if you are someone working out and happen to have a hard time performing squats — then do your research and find an exercise that helps to build your weakness so that you can work up to squats or find an alternative that works the same muscle groups & can be performed confidently. 

In this blog post, I am going to name off a few alternatives (exercises) that can be done in place of squats or that work same or/similar muscle groups as the squat does. Keep in mind that the squat is a compound movement — so it works as a full body exercise but without proper form/technique it can cause injury.  Keep in mind that these exercises I list can also  be used to build the strength needed for a proper squat. 

  1. Lunges 

2. Bulgarian Split Squat


3. Deadlifts 

4. Step ups (keep in mind, there are different variation of step ups)

5. Sled Push 

If anyone would like to add to this list, leave comments! There are plenty of other exercises that can be used as alternatives not mentioned, so explore your options, and may LEG DAY be with you! 

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Published by WonderWoman & Fit

You can assume I have a love for fitness & a love for Wonderwoman -- both assumptions are correct. I am an ACSM certified personal trainer of 8+ years -- I currently reside in Ohio and live a simplistic life at the age of 29. If I am not lifting, I am eating, sleeping, traveling, exploring, or movie watching. I recently moved during a pandemic, now I am focused on self care (self love), building a business of my own in personal training, becoming a professional blogger, starting a podcast and doing things that make me happy! I am a sister, daughter, and loyal friend --- I love everyone's dog and I am on a mission to pet as many dogs as possible everywhere I go! LOL. My mission is to talk health (physical/mental), design programming, motivational speak, learn, grow, prosper, build others and make as many people smile as possible because I want nothing more than to be the change I seek in the world.

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