No Squat Rack? No Problem

 There are two things I hate in this world: rude people and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

There are two things I hate in this world: rude people and "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo."

I’ve made it no secret that squats are probably one of my 5 favorite things about life.  While you probably think that’s pretty sad, I’d counter by saying that it’s much better than spending any amount of time watching E! or “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.”

Anyway, since Monday is always bench day, that means Tuesday or Wednesday should be squat day.  To help avoid the skinny legged bros hogging the squat rack and using a barbell for their “all biceps all day” routine, I wanted to post some of my favorite squat variations. 

While front squats and back squats will always have a special place in my heart, I’ve learned that they probably aren’t the most effective (or, dare I say, functional?) ways to build leg strength.  While that statement is probably a blog post in itself, this first video is a movement you need to master before going to any other variation.  Below, I do a split squat hold then add in some weighted split squats. 

If these are new to you, do them without any weight at first, and make sure you only do the split squat holds.  Once those holds are easy, you can progress to adding in some split squats after, or performing the actual squats by themselves.  Either one will work.

After that, it’s time to do a lunge matrix which has been popularized by Mike Boyle.  As you can see, there’s a forward stepping lunge, followed by a side to side lunge, then polished off with a transverse lunge.  Depending on your ability, these are great as a warm up, or you can weight them with a goblet hold (like I did in the video above) for a strength exercise.  They are fantastic at building strength and stability in multiple planes of motion.

After you’ve conquered those, it’s time to move on to the real meat and potatoes!  Below are a squat variation called “Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats.”  Very original, I know.  They’re also called “Bulgarian Split Squats,” but I refuse to call them that because I love freedom…and America.

As you’ll see in the video, I set up in the bottom position.  The set up on these is VERY important, because we want you to have a vertical shin and 90 degree angle of your knee at the bottom position.  Also, make sure you’re pushing through your heel the entire time, otherwise the stress will be shifted to your knee and away from your hips/glutes.  (On a side note, I’m currently working my way up to a notable PR in this exercise, and will post the video when I get there)

So what’s the point of all these variations?  Well they build single leg strength and stability much, much better than traditional squats.  Once you’ve mastered all of them, you can move on to Single Leg Squats, which I show below:

It probably goes without saying, but these are very tough, and some people may just not have the mobility to accomplish them.  If that’s the case, that’s totally OK, and there are plenty of other things in your arsenal to make you big and/or strong.

Anyway, hopefully you learned something…and thank you again to my girlfriend, Lindsay, for being so patient and taping all of those videos.  Thanks for reading!