8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

The king of exercises is the squat. Everyone will be able to choose from one of these eight squat variations so they can all develop huge legs!

It is remarkable to have lower limbs that are as thick as the trunks of the largest trees, but even more impressive is the raw strength and performance that a well-trained lower body can provide.

And what better approach to developing your legs than by performing one of the most significant foundational exercises ever?

I'm going to provide you with 8 of the best squat variants to incorporate into your exercise routine today.

Best Squat Variations to Build Mass, Muscle and Strength

1. Landmine Squat

Stand facing landmine, holding barbell fist-over-fist so thumbs are on top. Step back so body leans forward, placing some bodyweight into barbell (A), to start. Drop down into a squat so barbell is just under chin (B), then reverse for 1 rep.

Muscles worked: hamstrings, quads, glutes, abs, triceps, delts, and traps.

2. Zercher Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

Are you prepared to put your total core strength to the test? Try the Zercher squat, where you hold the barbell in the crooks of your elbows rather than on your back. The Zercher squat tests your back and shoulders' ability to support the weight without hunching over, while your hips and legs have to do the job of, well, squatting. This is because the load is placed lower and in front of your body. However, start slowly and work your way up to a comfortable weight. This position is much more taxing than the standard squat, so make sure you start light. A guide on how to do it is given below.

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and core.

3. Barbell Front Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

Compared to the back squat, the barbell front squat more fully engages the anterior chain (front half of the body). before racking the barbell on your shoulders, precise form is essential once more. "Activate your lats by rounding your shoulders and shrug to provide the perfect shelf; and remember to take a deep breath when lowering into the squat, then exhale and explode on your way up," adds Valentin.

Muscles worked: glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, core, and lats.

4. Split Squat

The split squat is a straightforward exercise that calls for stability and balance with both feet on the ground for each of the three weighted versions listed below. It is demonstrated below with a "landmine" barbell setup.

Muscles worked: (1) The side load activates the forearm muscles, (2) The backload will target more glutes and hams, and (3) The front load will be more quad-dominant.

5. Bulgarian Split Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

Because your back foot is higher, the Bulgarian split squat requires more stability and balance than the regular split squat. According to Rodocoy, since the leg and lower back are not involved in the lift, the weight is transferred directly to your hips.

Muscles worked: glutes, core, and hamstrings.

6. Pistol Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

Leg strength is essential for the pistol squat because it calls for balancing on one leg while crouching. Keep your arms and free leg out in front of you to maintain balance. Rodocoy advises starting on a bench, then as you advance in this variation, adding weight and performing it on a flat surface.

Muscles worked: quads, core, hamstrings, and glutes.

7. Overhead Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

Because you risk major injury if you don't complete the overhead squat correctly, it's a complex, challenging variation to perform. But it's worthwhile to master: According to Rodocoy, this exercise is essential for weightlifters because it develops the strength needed to accomplish the snatch and clean, and jerk.

To keep the weight in line with your shoulders, hips, and heels while lifting it overhead, Valentin advises locking your arms in place and squeezing your shoulder blades together. You should also poke your head through your arms while lifting the weight. 

Muscles worked: every single muscle in the body.

8. Goblet Squat

8 Best Squat Variations for Building Leg Muscle

A crucial starter strength and conditioning exercise is the goblet squat. You can progress to more challenging lifts or variations of the exercise by mastering the basic movements required to perform the basic squat. To perform this exercise, hold a kettlebell above your chest and drive the weight into your heels with your hips and back. 

Muscles worked: quads, glutes, and hamstrings.

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