How to Do the Sissy Squat to Build Heaps of Muscle Without Weights

If you happen to’ve been on the prowl for a brand new solution to develop your quads, or your thoughts is addled by the delusion that body weight actions can’t develop muscle, you’re in for an actual deal with.

The sissy squat, regardless of its namesake, is among the most deceptively difficult — and humbling — body weight exercises on the market. It additionally occurs to be an outstanding train for rising your legs. 

Whether or not you’re bored of the barbell or must make (or hold) your beneficial properties when you’re on the highway or caught within the workplace, the sissy squat would possibly simply be what you’ve been on the lookout for. 

Tips on how to Do the Sissy Squat

Sadly, the best a part of the sissy squat is the setup. To organize for the motion, all you want is your individual physique and maybe one thing sturdy to carry onto, akin to a squat rack or PVC pipe for stability. 

Step 1 — Dip and Attain

Sissy Squat Step 1
Credit score: Citizen Athletics on YouTube

Begin by standing upright in a transparent space together with your toes beneath your hips. Provoke the motion by bending your knees and starting to lean backward slowly, whereas additionally releasing your heels from the bottom.

Coach’s Tip: Attempt to elevate your arms out in entrance of you on the identical cadence as your knees bend to assist preserve your stability. 

Step 2 — Sink Low

Sissy Squat Step 2
Credit score: Citizen Athletics on YouTube

Subsequent, proceed to descend in the identical method till you attain your motion tolerance. If you happen to’re nonetheless studying the train, you possibly can maintain onto a door body, a barbell held in a rack, or different secure fixture to assist together with your stability.

Coach’s Tip: If you happen to’re utilizing a assist construction, hold your grip on it very mild so your physique does many of the work. 

Step 3 — Pause and Stand

Sissy Squat Step 3
Credit score: Citizen Athletics on YouTube

When you’ve dipped as little as attainable, or your knees are far forward of your toes, pause for a second to stabilize errant motion. Then, reverse the movement and return to a standing place.

Coach’s Tip: Contract your quads exhausting to face up as a substitute of flailing your arms or rocking your shoulders. 

Sissy Squat Units and Reps

Body weight exercises just like the sissy squat are fairly malleable when it comes to programming. There’s so much you are able to do with the train past utilizing it to beef up your quads. 

Listed below are a pair alternative ways to chop the proverbial cake, relying in your wants: 

  • As a Newbie: 2-3 units of as much as 5 reps, focusing in your approach.
  • For Muscle Development: 3-4 units of as many reps as wanted to succeed in a Charge of Perceived Exertion (RPE) of not less than a 7.
  • For Energy & Stability: as much as 5 units of three gradual and managed reps. 

Frequent Sissy Squat Errors

Falling in your behind is a much more probably end result than blowing out your kneecaps, regardless of how the sissy squat seems at a look. The train is much from harmful, however it is best to nonetheless be aware of what can go fallacious, and pay attention to any execution errors that will forestall you from making beneficial properties. 

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Not Bracing Your Torso

To carry out the sissy squat successfully, it’s essential to have a secure and locked-in trunk. This implies making certain that your hips are in extension (take into consideration squeezing your buttocks the entire time) and that you simply’re circumferentially bracing your core. 

Inhibiting Knee Journey

By its very nature, the sissy squat necessitates that your knees journey far prematurely of your toes. There’s completely nothing fallacious with ahead knee journey because it pertains to joint well being or stability — so don’t be afraid to let your knees observe ahead.

Be aware, although, that it is best to by no means pressure your self into a variety of movement that’s notably uncomfortable. Be aware of what sensations qualify as difficult and which may be painful. 

If you happen to expertise notable ache at any level, stop the train and take into account consulting your doctor. 

Leaning Too Far Again

Calisthenics are all about stability. Whereas your torso does must lean backward as your knees observe ahead to maintain your heart of mass in alignment, don’t pressure this a lot that you simply really feel your self falling over. 

The sissy squat just isn’t a recreation of limbo. Lean again simply sufficient you could stability your self. 

Sissy Squat Variations

If you happen to’re cautious of leaping into the sissy squat correct, there are many methods to change the motion and grade your publicity. You can also make it simpler, tougher, and every part in-between. 

Band-Assisted Sissy Squat

You’ll be able to repair a resistance band to a secure floor (a squat or energy rack would do properly) and make the most of the band’s elastic rigidity that will help you stability your self.

A band-assisted sissy squat might be simpler to be taught and carry out with a full vary of movement, nevertheless it would possibly make the usual model of the train a bit awkward when it comes to really feel, because you don’t have the stress of the band to counteract your individual weight. 

Weighted Sissy Squat

You can load the sissy squat with a small quantity of weight, although it’s actually not crucial to take action for the motion to be efficient. 

Nonetheless, try to be very cognizant of the way you apply exterior resistance. The load you’re utilizing shouldn’t have an effect on your approach or throw you off stability. 

A light-weight weight vest or a small kettlebell held in a single hand could be a great start line, however superior athletes can take into account performing the motion in a Smith machine as nicely. 

Kneeling Sissy Squat

If you happen to discover most variations of the sissy squat too tough — nevermind the baseline iteration — you possibly can take issues again to floor degree, actually, by performing the movement from a kneeling place.

Supplied you possibly can sit in your knees, extending your self as much as a full kneeling place will replicate a portion of the vary of movement of the sissy squat. This variation can function an efficient introductory stressor to knee-based calisthenics. 

Sissy Squat Options

If the sissy squat makes you queasy otherwise you aren’t notably into bodyweight-only coaching, check out a few of these options. They replicate among the sissy squat’s mechanics, however permit you extra flexibility in the way you load and progress your legs. 

Spanish Squat

The Spanish squat is much like the sissy squat in design, but in addition partly resembles a hack squat. So long as you could have entry to a heavy-duty resistance band, you possibly can stabilize your decrease legs and sit down and again to load your quads. 

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Holding onto a heavy kettlebell or dumbbell within the entrance rack place works nicely as a loading scheme. 

Bicycle owner Squat

For quad stimulation above all, flip to the bicycle owner squat. It’s primarily the identical movement because the sissy squat, however doesn’t problem your stability or trunk stability practically as a lot.


Inserting your heels on a excessive elevation (assume 2-3 inches) affords you an excessive quantity of ahead knee journey. You’ll be able to carry out bicycle owner squats with dumbbells in your fingers or a barbell in your again. The quad pump might be otherworldly.

Pistol Squat

If you wish to problem your quads with out utilizing weights and turn out to be freakishly acrobatic on the identical time, give the pistol squat a go.

It’s primarily a single-legged body weight squat. Sounds straightforward on paper, however is devilishly difficult to execute nicely in observe. Furthermore, lumping all of your physique’s weight onto one leg places an enormous quantity of stress onto the quads. 

Muscle groups Labored by the Sissy Squat

It will not be a smorgasbord of muscle activation, however the sissy squat is extra than simply an admittedly phenomenal quadricep builder. 

There’s really some attention-grabbing anatomical science at play as nicely that makes the sissy squat notably helpful when you’re focused on complete, well-rounded muscle development. 


Your quads are the prime (and, for essentially the most half, solely) mover within the sissy squat, because the train relies nearly totally round knee flexion and extension.

Since your quadriceps are the one muscle that act to facilitate that movement, they’ll tackle the whole thing of the stress and pressure as you sink into each rep. 

Rectus Femoris

Your rectus femoris is among the 4 compartments that make up the quadricep. Nonetheless, distinctive to the rectus femoris is the truth that it’s a biarticular muscle — it crosses a couple of joint.

The tissue really originates on the pelvis and inserts on the tibia, that means it crosses each the hip and knee joints.

Biomechanically talking, this implies you would possibly get a bit extra rectus femoris activation within the sissy squat in comparison with different leg exercises just like the barbell squat or leg press. 

The sissy squat is among the solely quad exercises on the market that has you bend and straighten your knee whereas your hip is locked in place, offering some additional stretch to the rectus femoris. 


It might not essentially be a core train per se, however the sissy squat will problem your abs isometrically throughout every rep you carry out. 

A braced, safe torso is essential to sustaining your stability all through the train — a requirement which falls squarely in your abdominals, obliques, and decrease again to a level as nicely. 


Okay, your ankles aren’t a muscle. Nonetheless, the assorted tissues that encompass and encapsulate the ankle joint might be examined by the sissy squat, because you carry out the train up on the balls of your toes.

This artificially creates an amazing quantity of ankle dorsiflexion, which can be uncomfortable in some instances. Be aware of this when you’re working via an ankle or foot damage, as you could not have the tolerance to undertake the sissy squat simply but. 

Advantages of the Sissy Squat

It (most likely) isn’t the one train you’ll ever want for increase your quads, however the sissy squat has a stunning quantity going for it that assist it stand out from the pack whenever you’re constructing your workout routine.

Quad-Targeted Muscle Development

Far and away the most important good thing about the sissy squat is how efficient it’s at focusing on your quads. By eradicating your hips from the equation, the encircling musculature is placed on the sidelines and all rigidity is utilized on to your knee extensors. 

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Even when you aren’t utilizing any further weight, it is best to discover it greater than satisfactory to problem your quads to develop. 

Teaches Dynamic Steadiness

As a facet profit, the sissy squat is a good way to be taught (and exhibit at a celebration when you’re courageous sufficient) to stability your self. It takes a stunning quantity of positive motor management, endurance, and proprioception to execute nicely. 

Who Ought to Do the Sissy Squat

It’s actually not for everybody, however the sissy squat positively isn’t for nobody both — and it’d simply be good for you, relying in your wants. 


In case your aim is muscle development (or hitting up a physique competitors sometime), you should utilize the sissy squat as a finisher on the finish of your leg workouts to make sure each drop of juice has been squeezed out of your quads.

Or, stick it initially of your session as each a dynamic warm-up motion and a primer on your legs. 

These With out Health club Entry

Body weight actions will be surprisingly efficient for sustaining your muscle and power when you’re away from the load room for an prolonged interval. 

If you happen to’re caught on the workplace all day, you possibly can carry out a number of units of sissy squats throughout your lunch break. Or, when you’re touring, do them on the airport to maintain your legs heat between flights. 

Body weight Trainees

Calisthenics devotees are likely to wrestle most with growing their legs, just because they’re constrained to solely working with gravity as resistance, and the quads can take fairly a beating.

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As such, you must get artistic about the way you load your legs when you like to coach with solely your body weight. 

Hand in hand with an train just like the Nordic curl on your hamstrings, the sissy squat applies quite a lot of mechanical rigidity to your quads with out requiring a bunch of weights to take action.

Sissy Squats for Dimension and Energy

Frankly, the sissy squat is among the most dubiously-named exercises on the market. It’s removed from a stroll within the park, even when you’ve spent fairly some time within the fitness center already.

Fortunately, that’s what makes it so efficient. You should use the sissy squat to strengthen your knees, develop your legs, or mood your stability and stability — all with out having to raise a single weight. 


Nonetheless have questions concerning the sissy squat? No downside. We’ve obtained solutions.

Are sissy squats unhealthy for my knees?

No. Whereas your knee does journey far forward of your toe within the sissy squat, this isn’t an inherently harmful place for the joint.

Your finest wager is to introduce sissy squats to your train routine slowly, maybe by way of a modification or variation, in case your knees are delicate to mechanical rigidity.

Can I do sissy squats with weight?

Technically, sure. Nonetheless, the strategy of the sissy squat makes it completely difficult by itself.

It’s possible you’ll not want additional weights to make the motion sufficiently difficult, particularly when you decide to utilizing a full vary of movement.

Is the sissy squat protected for rookies?

Sure. It will not be a real newbie’s motion — take into account a body weight or field squat as a substitute — however beginner gymgoers and calisthenics fans can positively kick off their coaching with the sissy squat.

Featured Picture: @wsoo_mvmt on Instagram

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