Fitness experts agree that squats are one of the best moves you can do for your body. “Squats are the king of all exercises,” says Los Angeles celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson. “They help chisel your core because, metabolically, they’re your best friend. And don’t get me started on what they do for your butt!” If you’ve already mastered the basic squat, try one of these upgraded moves to maximize your calorie-torching potential.
Build on a classic squat
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, chest high, abs drawn in, and hands clasped in front of chest or straight out with palms down.A: Sit nice and deep, bringing hips to just below parallel.
B: Push into heels to rise to standing.Do 3 to 5 sets of 12 to 20 reps; aim to squat it out 2 or 3 times a week.
This move works your adductors (aka inner thighs) for trimmer, more toned upper legs. Stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly.A: Keep chest up and knees out as you lower down as far as possible.
B: Pause, then rise back to start.To make it harder, try this move on your toes to target your calves. Read: no more cankles!
Split squats will wake up the glutes, which are often turned off thanks to long hours of sitting. Stand with feet a little less than shoulder-width apart; step left foot forward and slightly to the left.A: Lower down until back knee touches floor.
B: Drive off heel of left foot to stand. Do half of set on left side, then switch.To make it harder, place your rear foot on a box to add a balance and stability challenge.
This power move is all about those glutes. Better butt, here you come! Start by doing a classic squat, arms in front of you, palms facing in.A: Once hips are slightly below parallel, jump up explosively, swinging arms behind you.
B: When you land, immediately lower back down.To make it harder, add a knee tuck to the jump to engage your core more.
This challenges every muscle from core to calf. Stand on a low box (about 6 to 12 inches high): lower hips, stepping right leg out to tap the floor.A: As you rise, drive right knee high while coming onto ball of left foot.
B: Do half of set on right side, then switch.To make it harder, use a higher box; you’ll have to squat lower to touch the floor.
Adding weight helps you sink lower into hips for better range of motion; it works your abs, too. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 10-pound dumbbell in front of chest.A: Push hips back and sink into heels until thighs are just below parallel.
B: Push back up.To make it harder, increase weight for more resistance, or do a shoulder press (upper body move!) after you rise back to standing.