Different Types of Squats and What They Work

The great Dr. Squat (Fred Hatfield) said that the squat is the king of all exercises because of the countless variations one can do on the squat plus the well-proven benefit of squatting, developing both muscular strength and cardiovascular capacity. We have selected 6 different types of squats listed below with a detailed explanation of each.

BACK SQUAT: Working core, quads, hamstrings, glutes and back

Experts explain that full back squats with a barbell is probably the most effective of all exercises to strength the lower body. Although the back squat trains the lower body musculature, it places a much greater emphasis on posterior chain muscles, like your glutes, hamstrings and your spinal erectors than any other squat variations.

FRONT SQUAT: Working leg and upper body strength plus central core strength

When the barbell is lying across the shoulders in front of your body and not the back, the front squats put more emphasis on your quadriceps and your upper back muscles than a normal back squat, while still training glutes and hamstrings.

OVERHEAD SQUAT: Improving muscular control, balance and increased mobility

Similar to front squats, the overhead squat has its roots coming from Olympic-weightlifting. Doing the overhead squat will strengthen the midpoint when doing a barbell snatch which is essential in weightlifting.

ZERCHER SQUATS: Working core and torso strength, achieving less spinal compression and a good carryover to deadlifts.

The Zercher squat is fairly uncommon but is still one of the best exercises to strengthen the upper back and the torso. Holding a heavy weight/ bar hooked in your elbows with arms bent takes practice, be careful not to go too heavy too quickly.

ANDERSON SQUAT: Working control at depth

Another uncommon squat variation, named after a legendary Olympic weightlifter, the Anderson squat starts at the bottom of the normal squat position with knees bent. It effectively eliminates momentum and the "bounce" or the stretch reflex.

BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT: Training balance, hypertrophy and working strength imbalances

You will be surprised how much weight you can lift with only one leg. Your back leg is resting on a bench while your front leg squats with the weight on your back. A great movement for is for bodybuilding, powerlifting or any competitive sports, or other recreational training. Working only one leg helps to improve any imbalances between sides allowing you to overload your muscles without using a heavy weight.

HACK SQUAT: Working quad strength with minimal spinal compression

Similar to deadlift, but the barbell weight is behind you. Starting with the barbell weight behind you when standing up, the hack squat puts a heavy accent on the quads because you can't lean too far forward.

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