15 Squat Variations for Muscle Gain and Leg Strength

15 Squat Variations for Muscle Gain and Leg Strength

You know you should integrate squats into your regular workout regimen to improve leg strength and build muscles. But doing the same type of squats over and over again can be boring and may limit your progress.

Try some squats from the list below to add some variety to your fitness routine. Mix and match to target different muscle groups and challenge your body for maximum gains!

Types of Squats: With Your Bodyweight

Also known as air squats, these require no additional equipment. They’re an excellent choice for beginners or anyone who doesn’t have access to gym equipment.

1) Basic squat

Spend time mastering this squat. This is the foundation for all of the other variations, so make sure your form is correct.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and hands at your side.
  • Keep your chest up, engage your core, and lower yourself as if sitting back in a chair.
  • As you squat, keep your knees in line with your toes. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the ground.
  • Push through your heels and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

2) Narrow stance squat

In this exercise, narrow your stance and keep your feet closer together. Starting in this position can help you activate both sides of your body so you don’t lead with one leg.

  • Stand with your feet a fist-width apart.
  • Perform a basic squat from this position.

3) Sumo squat

With this squat, you’ll strike a sumo wrestling stance. By keeping your legs further apart, you’ll target different muscles.

  • Take a wide stance, with your feet about 3 or 4 feet apart.
  • Angle your toes away from your body while keeping your knees lined up with them.
  • Perform a basic squat from this position and return to standing.

4) Jump squat

This variation adds an explosive element to your workout, making it great for building power and strength.

  • Perform a basic squat.
  • As you rise, jump into the air.
  • Bend your knees slightly to help you land softly.

5) Prisoner squat

Locking your hands behind your head as you squat requires more balance. It also helps stabilize your core and works your shoulders.

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, your hands laced behind your head, and elbows flared out.
  • Perform a basic squat. Since you won’t be able to use your arms for balance, be extra mindful of your form.

Types of Squats: With Weights

Adding weights to your squat routine increases resistance and challenges your muscles even further. If you don’t already have weights, consider adding these from Titan Fitness to your home gym:

Now, let’s look at some of the types of squats you can do with weights.

6) Goblet squat

This squat variation involves holding a weight in front of your chest, making this exercise a full-body workout.

  • Hold a dumbbell or kettlebell with both hands at chest level.
  • Perform a basic squat while keeping the weight close to your body.
  • Pay attention to your elbows; you don’t want them to flare out too much while you squat.

7) Barbell squat

The barbell squat is a high-calorie burner that can help improve strength and stability. If you have a barbell and a rack or squat stand, add this variation to your workout.

  • Step underneath the bar on the rack.
  • Grip the bar with your hands and rest the barbell on your back (not your neck.)
  • Take two steps from the rack and assume the basic squat position.
  • Perform a squat and push your heels against the floor to drive yourself back to standing.

8) Bulgarian split squat

With a bench and dumbbells, you can transform a basic squat into a power move that targets several muscle groups. Since the Bulgarian split squat only uses one leg at a time, your core must support your body weight as you perform the move.

  • Stand with your back to a flat bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend one knee and put your foot on the bench.
  • Tighten your core and squat until your front leg is at a right angle.
  • Push your front leg into the ground and drive yourself back into a standing position.
  • Switch legs either after each squat or after completing a full set.

9) Front squat

By moving the barbell from your back to your front, you'll switch up this exercise and work different muscles. This variation works your upper back and quads.

  • Step underneath the bar on the rack.
  • Grip the bar with your hands and rest the barbell on your collarbone.
  • Step back from the rack and do a squat.

Types of Squats: With Machines

For more variety, try machine-assisted squats while working out in a gym. Look for these machines:

Here are some squats to try on them:

10) Hack squat

A hack squat machine mimics the movement of a barbell back squat, but it puts less pressure on your spine. You’ll likely be able to handle more weight than you would with a traditional barbell.

  • Position yourself in the loaded machine with your back against the pad.
  • Grip the handlebars and bend your knees to start the squat.
  • Continue lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Press through your heels to return to the starting position.

11) Landmine squat

You’ll need to connect a few different attachments to do this type of squat, but it’s worth it! The landmine squat has a lower impact than a traditional squat and can help improve your balance and muscle mass.

12) Belt squat

With the SquatMax-MD, you can move the weight from your shoulders to your hips, reducing the strain on your spine.

This video from Titan Fitness explains how to do a belt squat with the revolutionary SquatMax-MD.

Types of Squats: With Other Fitness Equipment

No matter what type of fitness equipment you have in your home gym, you can use it to level up your squat game.

Here are a few more variations to try.

13) Overhead squat

Work your legs, glutes, and shoulders with this squat variation.

  • Pick up a Slam Ball and hold it over your head.
  • Perform a basic squat, extending your arms above you throughout the entire movement.

14) Box squat

In most squats, you move immediately from the descent to the ascent. With a box squat, you’ll pause briefly at the bottom. This takes away your momentum and makes your muscles do all the work.

You’ll need a bench or Plyo Box for this exercise.

  • Stand facing away from the bench or box.
  • Lower yourself as you would in a basic squat.
  • Tap the bench or box with your butt, pausing briefly to allow your momentum to dissipate.
  • Push through your legs to return to the starting position. Don’t bounce to try to regain the momentum.

15) Stability ball wall squat

With a stability ball and a wall, you can practice your squatting form and work your butt, legs, and thighs.

  • Position a stability ball between your lower back and a wall.
  • Perform a basic squat while maintaining contact between the ball and your back.

Squat Your Way to Fitness with Titan

You'll notice the benefits no matter which type of squats you add to your fitness routine. They all help strengthen and tone your lower body, engage your core, and work your upper body to some extent.

If you need equipment to help you get started, check out Titan Fitness. We’ve got a wide variety of squatting gear, including the:

We also offer many other types of exercise equipment, from weights and racks to benches and bars. With our help, you can create the perfect home gym for all your fitness needs.