Squats are one of the most functional exercises for toning your lower body, and there's no shortage of variations to make them more challenging. Using weights is one way to mix it up, adding additional resistance to your glutes, hamstrings, and thighs. With all the equipment options available to you, we broke down some of the most advantageous ways to use weights while performing a basic squat.
- Resting dumbbells on your shoulders. Start with your feet shoulder width apart and place the dumbbells on your shoulders, holding the weights in place with your hands. Keep the weights steady on your shoulders as you lower into a squat and return to starting position.
- Holding dumbbells by your sides. Start with your feet shoulder width apart holding one dumbbell in each hand, letting your arms hang freely. Lower your weights down past your knees as you squat, and back up toward your hips as you return to starting position.
- Back squat, placing a bar across your upper back. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, placing the bar up across your upper back, so it's resting near the base of your neck. Grip the bar with both hands, just outside of your shoulders, and keep the bar in place as you squat and return to starting position. If the bar is uncomfortable on your upper back, you can use a pad or towel underneath to take some pressure off.
- Front squat, holding a bar across your chest. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, placing the bar across the front of your shoulders, so it's resting above your chest. There are multiple ways to keep the bar in place on a front squat. You can use an underhand grip grabbing the bar near your shoulders on either side, or cross your arms and bring your hands toward your opposite shoulder to press the bar toward your body.
- Goblet squat, gripping one kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your body. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, taking the weight and holding with both hands at chest height. Keep steady in place as you lower and return back to starting position.
- One-arm kettlebell squat. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, placing the kettleball in your right or left hand, outstretching your arm straight up over head. Aim to hold the kettleball in place without bending your arm as you lower and return to starting position.