40 Squat Variations You Need to Know

1. Basic squat

Mastering the perfect squat will help you with all of the upcoming exercises.

Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing forward, neck straight, and abs tight.

Hold your arms out in front of you. Keep them straight with palms facing down, bent at elbows. You can also do our favorite arm move: the “Aladdin” arm-cross (elbows out, arms crossed, hands on opposite biceps). Just don’t put your hands on your legs.

Bend your knees and slowly lower yourself until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push your butt back, as if you’re sitting in a chair.

Don’t worry too much about letting your knees go forward over your toes. Depending on your limb length, flexibility, and hip joints, your knees may naturally go over your feet as you squat. As long as it doesn’t hurt, you’re OK. Return to standing.

2. Single-leg squat

Got a dominant leg? It’s OK — we all do! Focusing your squat on one leg at a time can help even out muscular imbalances.

Start in the basic squat beginning position. Lift left leg, bending knee slightly to get foot off the floor.

You can hold your raised foot slightly in front of or behind you — whichever feels more steady. Using only right leg, lower yourself as far as is comfortable. Return to standing.

Try not to put your left foot down between reps. You can use a wall or chair for support if needed. Repeat on the other side — no one wants unbalanced biscuits.

3. Squat pulse

Do a basic squat, but instead of returning to standing, stay in the lowest part of the squat with thighs parallel to the floor and move up and down, keeping the movement small (a few inches up or down) and fast.

4. Pistol squat

If you want to impress people at parties by squatting (you know, like you do), bust out the pistol squat. It can be tricky to master, but the results are impressive.

Start in a beginning squat position. Hold left leg straight out in front of you and arms out in front, parallel to leg. Slowly squat all the way down until your butt is almost to your heel.

Your lifted leg should be fully extended in front of you, with foot hovering a few inches above the floor. That was the easy part. Now stand back up without falling over or using your lifted leg.

5. Chair squat

Nope, we’re not giving you permission to sit in a chair and take five.

Stand with feet and legs together. Sit back and down, pushing hips out behind you. Lift arms as high as you can, taking care not to let your chest drop. You can return to standing and repeat the squat or, for more of a challenge, hold it.

6. Chair squat on toes

Stand with feet and legs together. Hold arms out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Rise up on toes and lower yourself until your butt is almost touching your heels. While still on toes, return to standing.

7. Eagle squat

Anyone who’s been to a yoga class will likely recognize this move. And anyone who thinks squats are boring will love this challenge.

Stand with your feet close together and arms out in a T. Lift right leg over left leg and wrap right foot around the back of left calf.

Bring right elbow under left elbow, wrapping right hand around left forearm until palms are together. Once you have your balance, squat as low as you can. Return to standing and repeat.

If anyone looks at you funny, just tell them pretzels are your favorite food — that is, if you can still talk. If all this limb “wrapping” has you confused, just study our handy-dandy picture.

8. Grand plié

“Black Swan” fans, unite!

Stand with heels together, toes pointing slightly out, and legs straight. Without sticking your butt out, bend knees and lower as far as is comfortable.

Allow heels to come up at the bottom of the squat. Return to standing.

Tutus are optional, but know that if you do choose to rock one at the gym, we fully approve.

9. Figure-four squat

It’s a squat! It’s a stretch! It’s a… squatch? OK, that just sounds wrong.

Start standing. Bend knees and lower a few inches into a slight squat. Lift right leg, bend right knee, and cross right leg over left leg, with right ankle resting on left knee.

Being careful not to lose your balance, lower until your supporting thigh is parallel to the floor. Don’t let hips dip to either side! Return to standing. Repeat on the other side.

10. Sumo squat

Floor-stomping; 12,000-calorie meals; and lots of grunting: Why should sumo wrestlers have all the fun?

Try this variation of the traditional sumo stance by standing with your feet planted wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly out.

Push hips back and bend knees, squatting until thighs are in line with knees. Return to standing or pulse at the bottom of the movement. We’ll leave the outfit up to you.

11. Sumo squat on toes

To up the cool factor (and add more work for your calves and core), do the sumo squat with your heels raised. Try not to put your feet down through the entire movement. Feel free to make grunting noises — maybe it’ll help.

12. Butt-to-heels squat

Stand with feet close together, arms out straight in front of you. Bend knees and lower until butt is touching heels. Your heels will come off the floor, and your knees will be way forward past your toes. That’s OK!

As you squat, lower your arms and lightly brush your fingers on the floor. Raise arms back to shoulder height as you return to standing.

13. Curtsy squat

Stand with feet hip-width apart and hands on hips. Move right foot behind left leg, as far past left foot as is comfortable. Using a “curtsy” motion, squat. Keep your weight in your front leg. Return to standing, fancy-pants.

14. Cross-leg squat

Stand with feet hip-width apart. Lower into a basic squat. As you stand back up, lift right leg (still bent at knee).

Bring right leg across your body as you crunch forward with abs until right knee touches left elbow. This takes butts and guts!

Hate Doing Squats? 7 Exercises That Work Just as Well

Every exercise has its big “it” moment, and squats have been having that moment for a very long time. And why shouldn’t they? Squats are great for toning your thighs and calves, engaging your core, and of course, giving you a nice backside. But let’s be honest — squats have kind of worn out their welcome.

Here are seven exercises that work just as well as squats, from tricky leg lifts to low-impact floor work.

1. Side kicks

Their workout is so good, they won’t have to do squats later. | iStock.com/dolgachov

This kickboxing-inspired exercise is noticeably great for working out your legs. And like squats, it will also engage your core, given you’re able to maintain your balance. Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands placed on your hips. Transfer your weight over to your left leg as you kick your right leg out to the side and up toward the ceiling. Keep your abs sucked in towards your spine as you slowly lower your leg back to the starting position for one repetition.

Start by doing 10 repetitions for each leg. Take a cue from Livestrong.com and warm up with a light cardio workout before performing this exercise.

2. Curtsy lunges

With an exercise this good, you might never go back to doing squats. | iStock.com/milanvirijevic

Start standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your posture straight and your abdominal muscles engaged, cross and step your left foot behind your right and bend both knees into a lunge. Press down into the floor as you lift back up for one repetition. Start with doing 10 repetitions, then switch to do the same with your right leg.

Use this easy-to-follow video from Health.com as your guide.

3. Single-leg deadlifts

This rendition of a dancer’s arabesque requires balance, so you will get an added core and back workout in addition to working your legs and glutes. Stand on one leg with your other leg pointing directly behind you. Keep your core engaged as you hinge forward from your hips, lifting your arms in front of you as you lower. Bring your arms back to your sides as you lower your leg back to the ground and return to center.

Try doing 10 repetitions on each leg. This exercise can be performed with weights — like in this video — but is still effective without them.

4. Bridge with leg extension

This exercise is a great replacement for squats. | iStock.com/undrey

This exercise probably makes you think of retro ’80s workout videos full of spandex. Put all of that aside, and this hip-thrusting workout remains a great alternative to doing squats. Following the user-friendly instructions from Muscle & Fitness, start lying on your back with your knees bent at 90-degree angles and your feet planted on the ground about hip-width apart. Engage your abdominal muscles and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips up to the ceiling. Keep your hips lifted as you extend your right leg out in front of you. Return your foot back to the ground and repeat with the left leg.

Start with doing 10 repetitions on each leg before lowering your hips back to the ground.

5. Bear planks

Bear planks challenge your core and your lower body. | iStock.com/fizkes

This isn’t your everyday hum-drum plank exercise. Bear planks are a great full-body exercise that puts extra emphasis on working your lower half. Using this video as your guide, start on all fours. With your core engaged and your weight forward onto your hands, fold your toes under and lift your knees just an inch off the ground. Maintain this position while you switch stepping each foot backward. Start by doing this exercise for 30 seconds before returning your knees to the ground. Work your way up to one minute.

6. Fire hydrant leg extensions

The fire hydrant move is great for targeting your gluteus muscles. Add a leg extension to it, and you have an exercise that works your entire leg — and engages your core, just like squats do.

Start on all fours, keeping your abdominal muscles sucked in and engaged. Starting with your right leg, open your hip and lift your bent leg up to the side, just like a dog at a fire hydrant. With your leg raised, point your foot and extend it directly behind you, then return back to a bent leg position for one repetition. Start with 10 reps on each leg, working up to three sets of 10.

7. Rainbows

Of all of the alternatives to squats, leg rainbows are probably the most low-impact. But don’t be fooled — your muscles will definitely burn after you do this floor exercise. Start on all fours, keeping your abs engaged so your back won’t arch during the exercise. Keeping weight on your hands, extend your right leg directly back behind you. Raise your leg up and move it from side to side behind you in an arch pattern (hence it being called a rainbow).

This video from Health.com serves as a good visual guide. Start by doing 10 repetitions on each leg, working up to three sets of 10.

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7 Tips For Sex Standing Up, The Position For Experts

Different sex positions may be your favorite for different reasons — one of them is probably a favorite because it’s an old standby. It’s part of your normal repertoire. But there are other positions that people consider their favorite sex positions for exactly the opposite reason: they’re not something that they do all the time, and the fact that they’re only occasional moves — and often difficult — makes them all the more sexy.

Standing up is definitely one of those kinds of sex positions. You might be scared to try it because it’s just downright tricky, but there are ways to make it easier. “Standing positions are usually for rear entry or bent over a couch or the edge of the bed,” Sarah Watson, LPC and Sex Therapist, tells Bustle. Most women feel a bit more supported when they are able to lean against something so the fear of falling over or being dropped is lessened.”

So you don’t need to worry about falling on your face. Although, as long as nobody gets hurt, some stumbles and mishaps are part of what makes this kind of sex fun. You just need to try and try again. You’ll get the hang of it, and when you do, it’s totally worth it.

So here are seven tips for sex standing up, because the shower is not always your friend, but the wall may be. But first, check out these sex positions to help your partner last longer:

Bustle on YouTube

1. Ease In With Only One Of You Standing Up

Positions like this, The Butterfly, only involve one partner standing. If you’re not used to thrusting away while standing up— trust me, the center of gravity is different — try getting more comfortable with a position like this rather than jumping right into it. Once you’re stable, you’ll feel better trying a position where you’re both standing.

2. Lean On Something


As Watson explains, a lot of women feel more comfortable if they have a little support. Although, if you’ve watched enough porn you’ve probably seen women being thrown around like they’re all really horny professional gymnasts, but that’s just not realistic. Use a wall, lean against a table, a couch — whatever you can to give yourself some support.

3. Go Three Legged

Three-legged Dog is a way more advanced sex position, but when you’re ready, it can be really fun. Facing each other, but with one of your legs hiked up and resting on your partner’s for support, you’ll have to really grip onto each other, making it an intimate and exciting position.

4. Don’t Be Scared Of Props


If your heights don’t match up, they just don’t and you can’t force it. Don’t be scared to stand on books, a couch, or kneel on a chair — anything that will give you that extra couple of inches.

5. Avoid Showers If You’re New To Standing Up


I’m sorry, I’m sure some people swear by shower sex, but it’s definitely a more advanced move. Standing up sex can be difficult enough when you’re trying to find your balance, and doing all of it in a slippery shower is even tougher and just a bit dangerous. Proceed with caution if you take it to the shower.

6. Try Forward And Backward

While some positions like the Three-legged Dog are face-to-face, standing up can be a lot easier from behind. You can really brace yourself that way, especially if you stand a little further away from the wall and lean forward to ground yourself. But it all depends on your heights, so don’t be scared to try it a few different ways and do what works for you.

7. You Don’t Have To Focus On It As The Main Event


It’s a super fun way to mix things up — and have sex in rooms you might not normally have sex in — but it’s obviously tricky. It’s better to give it a go a few different times then try to force it to work for 20 minutes and tire yourself out. And this is true of any new or difficult position. Play. Have fun. Enjoy it. Don’t break your back and try to make it work. It’ll be a little easier next time.

Images: Caroline Wurtzel/Bustle (3); Giphy (4)

Sex positions: standing

A standing sex positions will perfectly suit for those couples who love a spontaneous and emotional sex using unusual positions and places. If you haven’t seen each other for a long time (however, for some couples even a half-day is a long period), when you are aroused up to the hilt, when you don’t want to take your clothes off and all you want is to have sex here and now – the best position except the standing one you, probably, won’t find! Standing sex positions are ideally suited for the intimacies in different places inside and outside your home: in the kitchen, bathroom, park or any other place where one can imagine to have sexual intercourse. If your girl wears a dress, the only thing you need is to move her panties away and choose one of the positions listed here. While having sex in a standing sex position, you will be able not only to make your sexual life more varied, but also to feel an extreme orgasm on the basis of the emotional outburst mixed with the physiological arousal.

7 Tricks To Master Standing Sex, Because It’s Not Easy Folks

If you want to have sex standing up and actually enjoy the experience, you should know it is possible. (Really.) There are some simple tricks to master standing sex, so your real life can be almost as steamy as your favorite film. It’s also a simple way to reduce your risk of injury, which is always hot.

Really, don’t feel frustrated if standing sex has you baffled, because even sex experts admit it’s something of an advanced position. “Sex standing up can be pretty hot. But it can sometimes be difficult to sustain especially if it lasts a while,” Dr. Rachel Needle, licensed psychologist in West Palm Beach, Florida and Co-Director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes, tells Romper via email. It’s probably going to take a few attempts before finding the right fit for both you and your partner. “Just because you are ‘getting it in’ in the idealized position does not mean it is a momentous success but instead a checked box, at best,” Dr. Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Ohio Center for Relationship & Sexual Health, tells Romper via email. “I emphasize the importance of changing positions and experimenting with the same position in order to create optimal pleasure.” With that in mind, here are a few tips you can try out to make standing sex better than ever.

1. Lean Against A Wall

This is how it’s done in the movies, right? Standing straight against a wall, then wrapping one leg around your partner, is one way to approach standing sex, according to Cosmopolitan. With the wall as a brace, you have a perfect stabilizer ready at all times.

2. Use Oral

Take an open-minded approach to sex. “Sex standing up doesn’t have to just be about penetration. Oral sex standing up can be hot too!” says Dr. Needle. Plus, it’s generally easier to keep your balance when one partner is lower to the ground anyway.

3. Get The Angle Right

Work together to find the right fit. “All bodies are constructed differently. Because of this, it is important for couples who are engaging in any sexual position, standing or otherwise, to make sure that they experiment with angling that is most comfortable and pleasurably for each partner,” says Dr. Grinonneau-Denton. Maybe just going for more of a 45 degree angle, instead of a strictly vertical connection, can make all the difference.

4. Use The Kitchen Counter

The kitchen isn’t just for cooking. In fact, “sitting up on the kitchen counter will give you great balance and control,” as passionate living coach Abiola Abrams wrote in Essence. It’s all of the fun of standing sex with almost none of the work.

5. Try Props

Consider using some props to help get that angle right. “Step stools and assorted pillows can also be general household accoutrements that can help to make the right adjustments that allows sex in any position to be more enjoyable for all involved,” says Dr. Grinonneau-Denton. You may never look at those throw pillows quite the same way again.

6. Brace Yourself

The right footing can make all the difference. “Leaning over something or putting your foot up can be helpful so you don’t become weak in the knees,” says Dr. Needle. Just make sure your foothold is pretty stable.

7. Consider The Closet

The smallest room in your house is possibly the best one for this kind of experimentation. “In the closet standing up – one bent over at the waist in front. You can even try lifting one leg for deeper penetration,” says Dr. Needle. Depending on the setup of your closet, everyone has a wall nearby to assist with balance.

Most of all, just enjoy the process of experimenting with different sex positions. “Don’t force it,” says Dr. Needle. “Have fun with your partner and be open to trying new things!” That’s an excellent attitude to take when approaching any sexy new adventure.


Dr. Rachel Needle, licensed psychologist in West Palm Beach, Florida and Co-Director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes

Dr. Ashley Grinonneau-Denton, Ph.D., Co-Director of the Ohio Center for Relationship & Sexual Health

Don’t want to get up extra early to log a morning workout at the gym? Fine, stay in bed. You can still transform your body with exercises you can do right on your mattress. Choose a few of them, or complete every move, and perform as many reps as you can in 30 seconds. You’ll burn more calories than you would by repeatedly hitting the snooze button.

1. Marching Hip Raises: Lie on your back with your knees bent, heels near your butt, and arms along your sides with palms facing down. Press into your heels as you lift your hips up so your body forms a line between your knees and shoulders. Without extending your leg, squeeze your butt as you lift your right foot up off the bed and bring your right knee directly over your right hip. Place your right foot back on the bed and repeat on the left side. That’s one rep. Continue to alternate.

Where you’ll feel it: Your butt, abs, and thighs.


2. Side Plank With Twist: Lie on your right side and place your right forearm on the bed. Keeping your hips, shoulders, and feet stacked, brace your core as you lift your hips up toward the ceiling as high as you can. Stretch your left arm straight up toward the ceiling. Without touching the bed, slowly lower your hips, then return to starting position. Keeping your core tight, twist from the waist as you bring your left arm down and underneath your body. Return to starting position to complete one rep. Continue for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side. (To make this move slightly easier, stagger your feet or place your top foot on the bed in front of you.)

Where you’ll feel it: Your abs, obliques, and triceps.

3. Leg Lift With Knee In: Lie on your right side with your right knee bent and foot behind you. Prop your head up with your right hand and place your left hand on your left hip. Point your left toes and extend your left leg to form a straight line with your body. Keeping your hips stacked, lift your left leg straight up toward the ceiling, then bend the knee and bring it in toward your core. Extend the leg back up toward the ceiling, then lower it with control to return to starting position. That’s one rep. Continue for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

Where you’ll feel it: Your abs, butt, and outer thighs.


4. Diamond Reverse Crunches: Lie on your back with your arms along your sides, palms facing down. Bring your feet together and open your knees out to the sides so the space between your legs resembles a diamond. Press into your palms and brace your core as you raise your feet up over your hips. From this position, lift your hips up off the bed to drive your feet straight up toward the ceiling. With control, bring your hips back to the bed. (Don’t drop your feet.) That’s one rep.

Where you’ll feel it: Your lower abs and thighs.


5. Jack Splits: Lie on your back on the bed with your thumbs interlocked, arms and legs outstretched, and feet together. Brace your core as you lift your arms and feet off the bed, keeping knees and elbows locked. Exhale as you lift your legs up and out to form a V, and lift your entire upper body off the bed. As you come up, swing your hands straight forward through the V. With control and without touching the bed, release your arms and legs, and lower back to starting position. That’s one rep.
Where you’ll feel it: Your upper and lower abs, chest, and quads. 


6. Scissor Legs: Lie on your back with your hands underneath your hips and your palms facing down. Bring both feet straight up into the air and point your toes. Keeping both legs as straight as possible, engage your core as you lower your right leg down toward the bed with control. Without touching down, bring your leg back up to starting position. Then repeat on the opposite side to complete one rep.

Where you’ll feel it: Your lower abs and legs.

Andrew Lyman-Clarke

7. Dolphin Plank: Get into plank position with your forearms and palms on the bed, and your shoulders stacked over your elbows. Your body should form a straight line between your head and your heels. Keeping your core tight and legs straight, lift your hips straight up into the air. Pause, then release to starting position with control to complete one rep.

Where you’ll feel it: Your forearms, abs, and obliques.

Andrew Lyman-Clarke

8. Arabesque Leg Lifts: Get on your hands and knees with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, and your hips directly over your knees. Point your left toes, and extend and raise your left leg out to your left side. Bend your knee and bring the leg back in, then extend the leg straight out behind you. Bend the knee and bring it back to starting position to complete one rep. Continue for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side.

Where you’ll feel it: Your butt.


9. Around-the-World Abs: Start on your hands and knees, with your shoulders stacked above your wrists, hips above your knees, and toes tucked under. Balancing on your left palm and right knee, lift your left knee out to the side so your thigh is parallel to the bed. Keeping your ankle level with your knee, swing your knee forward as you tap it with your right hand. Then, swing your leg backward until your left ankle passes over your right leg on the bed. Simultaneously, reach your right arm back to tap your left heel. Continue alternating between left knee- and left heel-touches for 30 seconds, then repeat on the opposite side for 30 seconds, this time swinging your right leg and touching with your left hand.

Where you’ll feel it: Your abs, obliques, butt, and arms.

10. Arm Extension to Shoulder Tap: Start in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Your body should form a straight line between the top of your head and your toes. Engage your abs and glutes as you extend your right arm straight out and hold it for one second. Then, use the right hand to tap your left shoulder. Repeat with your left arm and continue to alternate sides.

Where you’ll feel it: Your core and arms.

Luke Versalko

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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.

Standing up from behind

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