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Squat Every Day: Squat Variations

If you thought Squat Every Day meant you'd be doing the same squat every day, you were wrong. This program contains 11 distinct squat variations. Learn them here!

Main | Program | Nutrition/Supplementation | Variations | History of the Squat | Get Started

Throughout Squat Every Day, you'll encounter 11 different types of squats, so you get to challenge yourself in a unique way every time you step into the rack. If you're a longtime, veteran squatter, this is the perfect chance to test yourself; if you're new to the rack, this is the best way to become a squat master in a short time.

Each squat variation will feel a little different and will challenge you in a different way. After going through each of them for 30 days, your form will be better and you'll be stronger in every part of the lift. Your muscles will know exactly how to fire so you can move more weight than you ever have.

As you progress through Squat Every Day, you'll notice that some variations challenge you more than others. You have to go after those variations specifically, rather than avoiding them. If one particular variation exposes your weakness, you can't be a wuss and skip it. Do all the work, and your overall squat game will be unbeatable.

Squat Every Day Squat Variations
Watch the video - 15:16

Note: Each time you come around to a particular squat variation, you should try to do more weight than you did the time before. So, if you hit 250 the first time you attempted a front squat, then you know you need to go for 255 or even 260 the next time, depending on how that first successful attempt felt.

Variation 1 Close-stance deep squat

The close-stance deep squat is the most basic squat variation you'll perform. It's an Olympic-style squat, so the bar will sit right on top of your traps, and you'll squat until your hip crease falls beneath your knee caps.

When you remove the bar from the rack, move your feet so they are about shoulder-width apart, and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your core tight by pushing your abs out and down. As you squat, keep your knees out toward your pinky toes. Explode out of the hole with speed.

Variation 2 Close-stance deep squat with belt

A weight belt gives your abdominals something to press against, which will increase thoracic pressure and make you more stable and strong. The belt should, ultimately, help you to lift more weight.

Close-stance deep squat with belt

When you use a belt, wear it correctly. The belt should be very tight, and should be worn around your torso at the belly button, not down at your waist. Use the rack to help pull your belt as tight as possible.

Variation 3 Close-stance deep squat with pause

Pause squats are tough because your body can't rebound out of the hole using the stretch-shortening cycle. So, you have to rely on the power your muscles generate from a dead stop. It's a great tool for strength and power development!

Set up and squat like you would for a regular, close-stance deep squat. But, instead of exploding up as soon as your hip crease passes your knee caps, pause in that position. The pause should be 1-2 seconds. As you're in the hole, make sure your knees track out toward the outside of your toes. If they collapse in, take off some weight.

Variation 4 Close-stance deep squat with pause and belt

Adding the belt to this movement will make it feel easier. You should be able to squat more weight with your belt on, but make sure you're wearing it properly. When you explode up after your pause, push your abs into the belt for support.

Variation 5 Front squat

Having the bar in the front rack position can be difficult for a lot of people. Without the necessary shoulder and wrist mobility, it can be impossible to put the bar on your shoulders with your elbows pointing out.

Front squat

If you can't put the bar in the front-rack position, hold the bar on your shoulders by crossing your arms in front of the bar like a genie, bodybuilding-style. You can also put straps on the bar and hold on to them so your wrists are in a more neutral position. Whether you perform a cross-bar front squat or front-rack squat, keep your elbows up!

Because the load is in front of your body, front squats will feel slightly different than back squats, and you may not be able to use as much weight. Front squats put a greater emphasis on your quadriceps to move the load, and your back may also fatigue from stabilizing the bar.

Variation 6 Front squat with pause

If your core is weak, then paused front squats are going to destroy you. When you're moving out of the hole, drive your elbows up. If they collapse, your shoulders will roll forward and you'll drop the bar. Keep your chest and elbows up throughout the lift!

Variation 7 Front squat with belt

Having a belt on can make an enormous difference in your front squat. Utilize it by actively pushing against it as you squat.

Again, you have the option of crossing your arms in front of the bar like a genie, bodybuilding-style. You can also put straps on the bar and hold on to them so your wrists are in a more neutral position.

Variation 8 Front-to-back squat with belt

Start by doing a front squat. As soon as you're done, rerack the barbell, then get back under it for a back squat. Don't waste any time shaking out your legs or taking a drink. Get right back to work.

Always make sure the ratio is 1:1. Do as many back squats as you do front squats.

Variation 9 Wide-stance squat

This powerlifting-style squat may feel a little weird at first, but you should be able to move more weight because you're going through a shorter range of motion.

Wide-stance squat

Your feet should be wide, but not so wide that you're doing a sumo squat. Put the bar a little lower on your back—about to the middle of your traps. Having the bar lower will cause your torso to lean forward, which is natural and perfectly OK. Just don't let your torso fall so far that your spine flexes forward. Do your best to keep your spine straight and maintain an arch in your lower back.

Use your flat-soled shoes and a belt for this lift.

Variation 10 Close-stance deep squat with belt and knee wraps

On this variation, you can go for broke. The knee wraps will actually help drive you out of the hole, so you can put some more weight on the bar.

Variation 11 Back or front squat with belt and long pause

Ten seconds is a long time, but keeping your abs contracted and your torso upright for a long period of time will turn your core into iron. Don't be a pansy and quit after 5 seconds! Pause in the hole for 10 full seconds. Watch the clock, or grab a stop watch, and do this variation right.

Squat Till You Grow

Now that you're familiar with the types of squats you're going to perform throughout Squat Every Day, check out the other overview pages—if you haven't already—and get ready to find out who you really are. This is your hardcore.

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Main | Program | Nutrition/Supplementation | Variations | History of the Squat | Get Started