How To Do Sissy Squats Plus 7 Variations

How To Do Sissy Squats Plus 7 Variations

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If you want to add muscle mass to your legs, increase your muscle strength, or become more athletic, sissy squats are for you.  Without stepping foot in a gym, you can work your legs, back, and core while improving your balance and mobility.  

 

And don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve used every ounce of energy in your legs when you finish your workout routine.  Sissy squats can be intense when you add weights or try advanced variations, and don't worry, there are sissy squats for beginners too.  But before we jump into doing sissy squats, lets’ look at how this exercise got its name.

 

Sissy squats get their name from King Sisyphus in Greek mythology.  As punishment from Zeus for being a troublemaker, Sisyphus was forced to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to only have it roll back down before he reaches the top.  

 

Because pushing a boulder up a hill for eternity would build massive quads, most art depicting King Sisyphus (modern or Greek) shows him with bulging thigh muscles. But don’t worry, you can control your workout and the amount of muscle gain as you do not have a mythological god cursing you for eternity. 

 

So let’s learn how to do a classic sissy squat and then some variations for everyone from beginners to advanced athletes.

 

How to do a sissy squat:

 

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Stand on your tiptoes with your knees pointing forward and lean your torso back. 
  3. Keep leaning back like you’re doing the limbo.
  4. Lower yourself as far as you can go.  You should look like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix.
  5. Come back up by extending your legs. 

 

By making slight changes to your stance, resistance, or direction, the focus of the exercise changes letting you target specific areas of your body with more or with less intensity.  The variations are how you can make a sissy squat perfect for everyone at all fitness levels.

 

Sissy Squat from Knees

 

Sissy squats from knees allows you to start from your knees instead of a standing position.  This variation makes a sissy squat a little easier to do, and you are still targeting your quads and hamstrings.

  1. Put a pad down to protect your knees.
  2. Place your knees on the mat and kneel down.
  3. Lean your torso back and go down as far as you can.
  4. Push down with your quads to bring your torso up.

 

Wall Assisted Sissy Squats

 

Wall assisted sissy squats mimic the leg extension part of a sissy squat without needing to do the same range of motion.  Even though you aren’t leaning your body back with this variation, you’ll still strengthen your quads.

  1. Stand an arm’s length away from a wall.
  2. Place your fingertips on the wall.
  3. Stand on your tiptoes.
  4. Lower yourself down by pushing your knees forward.  Use your fingertips to help balance yourself.
  5. Go down as low as you can and then flex your quads to push yourself back up.

 

Two Handed Assisted Sissy Squats

 

Using a barbell or a stationary object helps you with your ascent into the sissy squat.  The assistance allows you to focus on your balance until you can adjust to doing sissy squats without support. 

  1. Set the barbell up at chest height.
  2. Place both hands on the barbell with a loose grip.
  3. Stand on your tiptoes with your knees pointing forward and lean your torso back. 
  4. Lower yourself as far as you can go.  
  5. Come back up by extending your legs. 

 

Assisted Sissy Squat with One Hand

 

With assisted sissy squats, you’ll just use one hand to grab any sturdy object to help you balance.  If you're a DB Method customer, use your squat machine.

This makes this variation more challenging than the assisted two-handed variation. Just make sure the object you’re holding allows you a proper range of movement and is stable enough in case you slip or fall.

  1. Place one hand on a sturdy object like a rack, door, or even a squat machine.
  2. Stand on your tiptoes with your knees pointing forward and lean your torso back. 
  3. Lower yourself as far as you can go.  
  4. Come back up by extending your legs. 

 

Sissy Squat With Resistance Bands

 

Sissy squats with resistance bands target your quads while working on your core strength and overall balance.  You’ll find these more difficult than other variations because the resistance is increased which also add intensity for more muscle gain.  

  1. Double wrap each band around the upright at knee level.
  2. Step into the band, so it is tight against the back of your knee.
  3. Lower yourself down until your thigh is parallel with the floor.
  4. Stand back up. 

 

Elevated Sissy Squats

 

Because you are on an elevated surface, your knees must travel further to reach the floor.  This increases your range of motion and makes this squat more challenging.  

  1. Stand near the edge of a solid surface that is a couple of inches off the ground i.e. step-up boxes, bosu ball, etc. 
  2. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  3. Stand on your tiptoes with your knees pushed out so they are past the edge.
  4. Lean your torso back. 
  5. Keep leaning back like you’re doing the limbo.
  6. Lower yourself until your knees touch the ground.
  7. Come back up by extending your legs. 

 

Weighted Sissy Squats

 

With weighted sissy squats, you can add more resistance to your squat since you are adding a dumbbell or weighted plate.  The weight makes this variation more challenging and ups the intensity. 

If you’d like to keep your hands free, try a weighted vest.  If you don't like the feeling of a weighted vest, try a weighted belt like our DreamBelt.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold a dumbbell across your chest.
  2. Stand on your tiptoes with your knees pointing forward and lean your torso back. 
  3. Keep leaning back like you’re doing the limbo.
  4. Lower yourself as far as you can go.  You should look like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix.
  5. Come back up by extending your legs. 

 

Because sissy squats focus work through your knee join and ramp up the load on your quads, they’re the perfect type of squat to help you build powerful quads compared to the class squat.  If you need a new move for your leg day routine, give the sissy squat a try. 

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