2 min read

Hate Squats? These exercises are as efficient

Eine Frau macht Wandsitz
Content Editor & Certified Trainer
Lisa studied journalism and is a certified fitness and health trainer, as well as a meditation coach! She spent many years working for different lifestyle and fitness magazines, and she writes articles for us on the topics of working out, fitness, lifestyle and mind.

If you want to exercise your thigh muscles and glutes, it’s hard to avoid squats. They are THE exercise to strengthen your legs, and that’s why they’re a perennial favorite in workout plans. But if you’re at all like me, you’d rather steer clear of squats. The good news is that you can effectively train your legs and glutes while giving squats a miss. We’ve got seven alternative exercises for you that can easily compete with squats.

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Here are seven effective alternatives to squats:

#1 Lunges

Along with squats, lunges are another classic leg exercise. Like squats, they also train your core. A big advantage that lunges have over squats is that you work unilaterally: on one side at a time. This demands even more from your deep muscles to be able to stabilize your body.

Muscles: quads, core

Breathing: inhale while bending, exhale while returning to starting position

Remember: don’t let your front knee go further forward than your ankle, and keep your torso upright

#2 Curtsy Lunges

A woman lunging
©Hello Lovely

The curtsy lunge is a version of the classic lunge. It gives the outer sides of your legs and glutes a better workout. The core must also be involved in this unilateral exercise — it’s perfect for developing a six-pack!

Muscles: quads and glutes, core

Breathing: inhale while bending, exhale while straightening up

Remember: don’t let your front knee go further forward than your ankle, let your back knee touch the ground next to your front heel, and keep your torso upright

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#3 Donkey Kicks

Donkey kicks are the ultimate kick starter for your glutes. They strengthen the entire backside. Tip: Here are some even more effective glute exercises.

Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, lower back

Breathing: inhale while lowering, exhale while lifting

Remember: Flex your feet and thrust your ankles upwards, keep your core engaged, avoid hollowing your back.

#4 Side Leg Raises

Want to give your thighs an all-over burn? Then don’t forget about side leg lifts! Squats on their own can’t work on outer quads.

Muscles: outer quads

Breathing: inhale while lowering, exhale while lifting

Remember: align your shoulders and pelvis, extend your leg fully

#5 Reverse Hyperextensions

This hyperextension version is a real burner that outshines squats. For this you have to lie on your stomach, bend your legs and lift your thighs off the floor — ouch!

Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, lower back

Breathing: inhale while lowering, exhale while lifting

Remember: rest your upper body and forehead on the floor, keep your leg movements slow and controlled

#6 Glute Bridge

Another classic lower body exercise is the glute bridge. As with squats, you effectively train your glutes and hamstrings.

Muscles: hamstrings, glutes, lower back

Breathing: inhale while lowering, exhale while raising

Remember: thrust your buttocks all the way up and keep them off the ground when lowering, keep your shoulders and heels firmly on the ground

#7 Wall Sits

A man and a woman training
©PeopleImages

The wall sit is another killer exercise for the thighs, calves and glutes. We can’t guarantee that you’ll still be able to walk after this holding exercise!

Muscles: quads and glutes, calf muscles

Breathing: inhale and exhale without interruption

Remember: Keep your back straight and touching the wall, press your heels firmly into the floor, keep your knees above your ankles, and legs at 90-degree angles.

More things to know from foodspring:

*Proteins contribute to muscle growth.

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