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! 

If you enjoyed this post and enjoy fitness/health — follow me on social media & this blog!

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Published by fitnessgrad

Hello! College graduate in exercise science and ACSM Certified Personal Trainer. My blog has all kinds of fun topics, something for everyone who is anyone that involves themselves with fitness. I like to think of fitness as a confidence booster, something to make us feel good and look good & pushes us to do things that make us feel more productive, unstoppable and stronger mentally and physically. My blog focuses on building people, and helping people see their true potential, while also sharing my journey with workouts, competing with powerlifting, and sharing how to's on workouts, so you step inside the gym with more knowledge. I don't know everything but I am on a voyage to build my character, my strength and work on my weaknesses --- with awesome people in my corner who support me and my goals. I plan on being your cheerleader, friend, coach and trainer all-in-one and most of all, I want to be your listener, the person who can listen and gain more knowledge about you and learn what makes fitness important to you; what's your why! (Your why will carry you to the finish line). It's important to have purpose for something, because you will need that purpose when you start to give up on yourself or want to quit. "Don't let the fire that guides you, dim" - Shay-lon Besides the fitness stuff, I reside in Ohio, love dogs and love pizza. Typical 26 year old trying to build an empire that brings out the best in others and makes me the best person I can be in all aspects in my life. Before I die, I want a reason to live, and I was given that reason each day I am able to wake up --- I have learned to not take life for granted and to explore as much as possible because to live with zero regrets would be fantastic! "I've conquered many things, but I still have much to learn about life, because nobody can know everything. & every battle is different" - Shay-lon

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