The Sissy Squat: A Quadriceps Isolation Exercise

Squats are really popular right now thanks to all the obvious benefits for your leg muscle groups, among other reasons. The sissy squat is among the many different squat variations that will greatly benefit your quadriceps.
The Sissy Squat: A Quadriceps Isolation Exercise

Last update: 12 September, 2019

The sissy squat is one of the least popular variations of the squat. However, it can provide wonderful benefits for your quadriceps. Unlike the traditional squat, the sissy squat focuses on strengthening the rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and vastus intermedius.

In practice, the sissy squat is an isolation exercise that specifically targets your quadriceps. As a result, the participation of other muscles is limited to a minimum. Here are all the details on how to execute this particular exercise.

Sissy squat technique for injury prevention

Proper execution of the sissy squat is essential for preventing injuries to the patellar tendon and lower back. Although it’s relatively simple, it’s crucial to gain experience and technique doing this exercise before adding any weight.

Start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, facing a double grip pulley machine. Your hips and back should be relaxed while your knees are bent and heels are raised.

When doing this movement, bend backward as far as you can. Elongate your quadriceps as much you can and then return to the start position.

You might like: Four Squat Tips for a Great Body and Zero Risk of Injury

Sissy squat is a little known exercise to tone your legs.
Image: Youtube ScottHermanFitness.

Your knees and feet should be facing the same direction during the entire exercise. It’s a good idea to perform the sissy squat near a fixed object you can hold on to in order to keep your balance. Also, if you have lower back or knee problems, avoid this exercise.

Sissy squat for the advanced

Those who’ve mastered the proper technique can now consider increasing the difficulty level of the workout. Be mindful to progress gradually and take good care of your body.

Weighted sissy squat

The basic execution of the weighted sissy squat is the same as the original exercise. However, with this variation, you’ll be adding a weighted bar or disc.

You need to have a lot of concentration and balance for this variation of the sissy squat. It’s important that you’re using the correct technique since a fall or incorrect movement could cause serious consequences.

As you gain more confidence and strength, you may increase the difficulty of this exercise. The first time you add weight, do the exercise while holding on to something.

Over time, you may reach the point where you don’t need to hold onto anything while doing the sissy squat. Athletes more advanced in this exercise rest the weighted object on their chests and extend their arms out over their heads or to their sides.

What are the benefits of this exercise?

With this training routine, you get some important health benefits:

  • Strengthened quadriceps: this muscle group develops the most since it’s doing all the effort. This squat is specifically designed for achieving strong and muscular legs.
  • Better balance: not only do you strengthen and improve your muscles, but you also improve your balance by doing this exercise. This is thanks to the positioning of your feet and the straight line you make with your body above the knee.
  • You can do it anywhere: you don’t need any special equipment or a lot of space to do this exercise. Therefore, you can work out at the gym, at home, or even at your office.
  • Abdominal strength: your abdomen is indirectly involved in this exercise, but it counts as a secondary muscle group. During this exercise, you must keep your balance and as a result, you have to contract your ab muscles. Thanks to this, you also strengthen your abs and core.
Sissy squat is an exercise that demands balance and muscular strength.
Image: vahvafitness

Tips for proper technique

These guidelines will help the sissy squat practitioner:

  • Include it in your daily exercise routine: sets of 12 repetitions, alternating with traditional squats.
  • Always leave the sissy squat for the end of your workout session.
  • Acquire the correct technique with time and increase the difficulty level little by little. Don’t overwork yourself or use more weight than you’re ready for.
  • Those who want more to be more comfortable can purchase a squat bench. However, you still need to keep your balance the same way.
  • To achieve the results you’re looking for, you have to be careful to keep your body in a straight line from the knees up.
  •  To prevent ligament injuries, be careful not to spread your knees.
  • You don’t need to stretch your body out completing straight every time you return to the starting position. Just stay slightly bent backward to maintain the contraction of your quadriceps.

As we mentioned, there’s equipment designed for doing sissy squats. However, not having them doesn’t limit your possibilities in terms of exercising your quadriceps with this workout.

In short, the important thing is to know the technique perfectly. If you want to develop and strengthen your muscles, you can do this exercise at virtually any place and time.

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