Squats for legs – 6 variations to help you build strength

Squats are one of the best exercises to work the leg muscles. By adding some variations, you can increase their effectiveness by working the muscles in slightly different ways. This 6 exercise squats for legs workout should only take you about 15 minutes including warm up and will firm up all your leg muscles. You should do 2 sets (that is, do all the exercises and then repeat from the start). For best results, do the workout 3 times a week. See the end of the post for how to get a link to the PDF download.

Squats for legs workout notes

Squats for legs workout PDF printable

Before you do the workout, please read these general exercise guidelines.

Muscles and joints should be warm before exercise. If your muscles are already warm from, for example, walking or household chores, then you can go straight into the basic squats. If you’ve been inactive before your workout, do these warm up exercises (you don’t need to bother with the arm ones).

The jump squat is a high impact exercise. This may not be suitable for you if you are very overweight or if you have joint problems. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, you should wear shoes that will cushion the impact – any kind of trainers will be fine.

The exercises

Basic squat

Basic squat

  • Have your feet a little more than hip distance apart, parallel or slightly turned out.
  • Bend at your knees and hips as you lower into squat position. Aim to get your thighs parallel with the floor.
  • Come back up gently, making sure you don’t jerk your knees backwards.
  • Avoid arching your back or rounding your shoulders and keep your neck in line with your spine.

Wide squat

Wide squat

  • Take your feet about twice hip distance apart and turn them out slightly
  • Squat down as with a regular squat.
  • Make sure your knees are over your feet (that is, not rolling inwards) and aren’t extending further than your toes.
  • Come back to your starting position and repeat.

Jump squat

Squats for legs jump squat

  • Start in a squat position, with your arms down by your sides.
  • Swing your arms up over your head as you push your toes off the ground and jump up.
  • Come back down onto the floor in the starting position and repeat.

Side squat

Squats for legs side squat

  • Stand straight with your feet about hip distance.
  • Take a step to the side and bend your knees so that you come into a wide squat position.
  • Come back to the starting position.
  • Repeat, this time squatting to the other side.

Heel raise squat

Squats for legs heel raise squat

  • Squat as for a basic squat, but stop when your legs are halfway to parallel with the floor, as shown above.
  • Now llift your heels so that your weight is on your toes.
  • Keeping your heels and lower legs in this position, raise the rest of your body a few inches and then lower again.
  • If necessary, use a chair to help you balance.

Pulse squats

Pulse squats

  • Get into basic squat position
  • From here, pulse up and down 1-2 inches

Download the squats for legs workout

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