Squats are one of the more basic exercises that we often come across. But don’t under estimate the potential of squats; if you want to have strong quadriceps or to be a little more technical, it is the large muscle group covering the sides and front portion of your thighs.

And if your looking to tone those babies up its time to do some squats!

This time though were going to add a twist with the squats so that we can maximize the effects of the exercise;

Lets get right down to it then, here is how the basic squats work, firstly stand with your feet apart, and your back straight. Then you simply place your arms behind you or at your waist level. The exercise is done when you bend your knees and straighten them out again and repeat them for a specific number of sets.

This is what we are going to do, as an alternative to the normal squats we are going to include two options to make the squats a little more interesting.

Option 1:

Get to the squat position, legs apart knees bent, back straight but this time have your hands extend forwards straight at shoulder level.

As you go up, you straighten your knees and you then lower your arms to your waist level as you conclude the last step of the squat.

Depending on you physical strength and flexibility level, you can do the following suggestions for number of reps and sets that fit your personal preference:

• Novice / Beginners: Start of with 10 squats, then repeat 2-3 times.
• Advanced: Do 15 to 20 squats and repeat for 3 sets
• Athletes: Do 30 to 40 squats and repeat for 3 sets.

You can also opt to do variations in timing holding in place for each squat intervals of 5 seconds each before going back up, the same goes for the arms, holding them straight as the knees are bent to increase difficulty with each set.

Option 2:

Go back to the original squat position, this time lets have our hands on our sides stretching to the sides at shoulder level and what we are going to do is as we bend out knees to make the squat we are now going to touch both hands together above our head in a sort of “jumping jack” position and then as you do that you are now going to raise one leg off the ground bending your knee and balancing on the other.

As you go down you then lower your arms to shoulder level only instead of all the way down and you hold the position and repeat alternating with the left and right knee as the arms go up above the head and back down to shoulder level.

This may look silly but it really adds a bit of a challenge but it does help improve your balance and core strength while giving the quads a real challenge.

Please note that this option however will put more strain on the knees as compared to the first option, so if you have previous knee problems please do this with caution and practice safety to avoid injuries.

There you go 2 options to make squats a little more interesting than just your average work out.

For me option 2 really gets me sweating more than option 1. Try it out for yourself and tell us about it!