Side Squats: An Advanced Exercise Guide [2021 Edition]

Side squats

Side squats are very popular among the newbie’s in the world of exercise and sports. It has been known for years that side squatting is not only a great way to tone your body and build stamina, but it is also one of the most efficient means of strengthening your core as well as your legs. In addition, you can use side squatting to work on your balance and coordination, making it something you can enjoy doing while working out too.

What are side squats?

Side Squats are one of the most beneficial exercises you can perform for your lower body health. This exercise works out the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes at the same time. It targets the largest muscle group in your body, which results in increased strength and power. It also puts less stress on the joints and ligaments of the legs. Side squat exercise will build more strength than your other squats, which will increase your athletic performance and help keep you healthy.

As the exercises have more to do with keeping the body’s centre of gravity in a stable position rather than a high one, they can be executed by beginners as well as experienced athletes. You can do them anywhere. And like most exercises, some variations can be done by varying the leg angle, range of motion and, of course, the resistance used. Learning how to do the side squats will not only strengthen your quads but your entire core, including your hip flexors and glutes, thereby providing you with improved posture and increased balance.

There are several benefits to this particular exercise. It improves your running endurance and leg strength. As you squat down, you will be lifting your heart rate and creating a caloric deficit with this activity. This is a great way to lose weight and get fit.

How to do the side squats?

To perform the side squat properly, you need to stand straight with your feet apart at shoulder width. Your arms should be positioned across your body as if you are extending your arms behind your head.

You want to feel like you are pushing off at the hips. From here, you will want to bend at the waist and extend your right leg towards right side of your body.

The idea of squats is to pressure off the quads and allow the hamstrings to act on their own. So if you’re ever having trouble with this or just generally not getting it right, try practicing this while keeping your knees bent. It may sound silly, but try it, and you will see how much better you feel about yourself.

Once your knees are bent, simply slip one leg out. This will put extra emphasis on the backside, not the front, and you’ll find your quadriceps working harder to hold your thigh in place. The side leg should be bent at ninety degrees, so make sure to keep your shin straight as you raise your foot to the position just above the floor.

As you come up into the standing position, you should simply squat down into the sitting position. You shouldn’t be leaning forward at all. Just be staying tall as you keep your back straight. Make sure to get your chest down into the heat of the exercise by squeezing the muscle behind your neck. Don’t cheat with this because you’ll only hamper this pose.

At this point, you should simply hold the position and focus on pushing yourself back up to the starting position. You’ll need to repeat this several times, pushing yourself to what you might think is the top of your limit. The key here is to never stop pushing yourself. To test yourself, simply try to surpass the top of your standing position. When you can do this for three straight reps, you know you’re already going to have a good day ahead.

These side squats aren’t a difficult exercise to master. They require very little skill, and anyone can do them. Best of all, they don’t use large muscle groups, so there is little to no risk of injury. If you want to take your squat to the next level, there are plenty of leg exercises out there that will do just that. Instead of wasting time with side bends and the like, give these squats a try. You’ll be glad you did.

What are the benefits of side squats?

Benefits of side squats

1. Strengthen your quads

One of the first benefits of side squatting is that it will help you strengthen your quads. Your quad muscles are located in the front of your thighs, so they are responsible for a lot of your athletic power and performance. Squatting exercises your quads by utilizing a greater force from your legs, requiring more oxygen and energy from your body. As a result, your legs will end up becoming more muscular.

2. Strengthen your calves | Side squats benefits

One of the main benefits of side squat exercise is that they will be very effective in strengthening your calves. Calf muscles will be vital to your running and jumping abilities. They will keep your feet and ankles healthy, which will also be very beneficial. Side squat exercise will be very effective in strengthening them, especially if you are doing them right.

3. Improve your posture

Side squat can also help you improve your posture. One of the biggest culprits for lower back pain is not being properly aligned when you’re working out. By doing side squats, you can prevent this from happening. Not only will your spine be properly aligned, but you’ll also feel more energized and fit because of the added muscle mass. Aside from that, you’ll also feel more stable and confident. All these will result in less back pain and a better posture overall.

4. Increase your metabolism

Side squatting is also highly effective for increasing your metabolism and burning body fat. This is due to the fact that when you engage in intense physical activity, your body goes into a state of thermogenesis (also referred to as metabolic heat generation). This means that the more you engage in physical activity, the more your body will warm up and use more energy. By warming up and using up more energy, you’ll be able to burn more calories and lose more body fat throughout the day.

5. Increase your flexibility

The final benefit of side squatting is related to your flexibility. When you do a squat, your quadricepses (front of your thighs) work very hard. However, they don’t get to relax like they do when you’re doing deadlifts. When you perform a side squat, you allow your quadricepses to relax and lengthen. This will increase your flexibility and strengthen your muscles in general, leading to increased strength, stability, and overall power when doing your exercises.

As you can see, there are many benefits to side squatting. It helps to improve your posture, your cardio, and your power (through increased metabolism). There are even more benefits of side squatting that weren’t mentioned here. It will also help you with your quads because it works your quadriceps, which is your large muscle group that runs your legs. These are just some of the main benefits of side squatting.

Variations of side squats

1. Lunge

The most effective variation of side squat is the lunge. It is an excellent exercise for the hip flexors and gluteus medius. Lunges work wonders for your lower body, and they will surely tone up those love handles you have meant to lose. To perform this, start with the ball under your feet. You will then squat down to the floor and bend your knees slightly. Keep your back straight and your chest out. Try to keep your buttocks as close to the floor as possible.

After reaching the lowest point in your squat, you will raise your upper body again. Do this while leaning on the leg that just lifted your upper body off the ground. Try to lift the upper body as high as possible before returning it to the starting position slowly. Try this variation several times, and you should be able to build some serious leg muscle.

2. Plank 

Another great variation of the side squats is the plank. To perform the plank, simply lay on your back and pull yourself up by pushing your knees into the floor. You’ll use your lower back, buttocks, abs, and thighs to pull yourself up. This exercise will work your core, legs, butt, and hamstrings. Try it next time after you finish the regular side squat.

3. Side bow | Side squats variations

Another variation of the side squat is the side bow. This comes from trying to keep your back straight while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Start by holding the dumbbells either behind your head or in front of your neck. Let your legs move towards the front, turn your upper body and return your arms to the side. Do this as many times as you can, and you should start to notice a difference in your core strength.

4. Flat side bend

The most common side squat variations is the flat side bend. This is the same as the normal side bend, but the heel and the toes’ angle is increased. In addition, it doesn’t matter what foot is raised above the ground. If you have forearms that are flat against the thigh, you will have to perform this exercise by bending the front leg and lifting it whilst pulling the bent leg back down. This exercise is beneficial for strengthening the quadriceps and hamstrings.

5. Half squat

Another great variation is the half squat. This exercise is highly effective in building up the hamstrings and glutes. It is the same as the regular squat except that the front leg is raised and curled, and the back leg is brought down and curled. You can perform side flexion and half squats by either standing or sitting down.

6. Bent-leg side squat

The bent-leg side squat is another common variation. As the name suggests, the leg is bent at the knee as you come up. Your thigh is then placed directly in line with the head. You will need to keep your knees slightly bent while going up. As you come down, your legs will be in the air, ready to absorb the impact from the ground.

7. Ninety-degree plank 

The last variation of a side squat is called the ninety-degree plank. This is a very effective exercise because it forces you to use your leg muscles to their maximum potential. When doing these exercises, you will find that it’s essential to keep your back straight and raise your legs out. To do an effective ninety-degree plank, try lifting your head as high as possible and then lowering yourself down slowly. Ensure that you keep your back straight and then try to lift your head as high as you can and then lower yourself down slowly.

What are the alternatives to side squat?

1. Side leg raise

The first alternative to side squats is the regular side leg raise. This exercise is done by lying down on your back with your knees bent and with your feet flat on the floor. You then want to raise your legs and forcefully crunch your lower back up until your chest is about two inches off the floor. Keep your knees straight and do as many repetitions as you can. Try increasing the number of repetitions you can do from three to five each week. If this seems like too much exercise, you can do one set of ten repetitions and repeat this five times each week.

2. Inclined lying row  

The second alternative to the side squat exercise is the inclined lying row. This exercise involves lying flat on your back with your legs bent. Next, cross your arms over your chest and begin to pull your chest towards your groin with an inward rotation motion. Make sure that you stay in the correct position throughout the movement.

3. Hanging leg raise

The final alternative to squats is the hanging leg raise. To do this, you need to be in a standing position with your feet hip-distance apart. Next, lift your legs straight up off of the ground and allow them to hang down naturally. Make sure that you keep your legs bent throughout the lift.

How to incorporate side squats into your workouts?

The best way to integrate side squat exercise into your workout is to use them at the end of a workout to get yourself up off the floor. People don’t do side squat exercise because they assume it will be difficult or impossible for them to do. But by simply bending your knees, you can gain the same benefits as doing squats. In fact, it’s actually easier to perform side squat than squats.

Most people view this exercise as a full-body exercise. However, it is important to realize that this also targets the upper and lower body equally. In addition, it also requires balance as well. When doing these kinds of exercises, it is important to remember to engage the smaller muscle groups of the legs, including the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and hip abductors.

As you become familiar with doing these exercises, they will become easier, and you will eventually develop the style that is best suited for you and your individual needs.

Once you have become comfortable with doing the side squats, you can start to perform them in sets of ten each day. Once you complete a set, you should focus on squeezing the glutes and contracting the leg muscles. As you get stronger, you can increase the number of sets to a twenty set. Keep in mind that you should always stretch before and after each set.

In addition, it is important to perform warm-up exercises as well, such as jogging, walking or swimming, before doing the sets of side squatting so you can avoid any possible muscle strain.

As you can see, learning how to incorporate side squat into your workouts can be done relatively easily. Just remember to keep your back straight, keep your head up, and always balance the weight evenly.

Mistakes you should avoid doing the side squats

Side squat

Side squatting has become a popular exercise with athletes, celebrities and the general population. It is an effective exercise that can build strength, tone and define your legs. But it’s important to know that not everyone can do this exercise the right way. Here are the mistakes you should avoid doing the side squat.

1. Bending your knees high

The first mistake that you should avoid is bending your knees high. The side squat should work out your quads, but if you bend your knees high, the weight of your body will shift to the balls of your feet, which puts unnecessary stress on your knees. Do you see how it feels? I am sure you feel it now. So, never do the side squat if your knees are bent high.

2. Going too heavy on your side squats

The second mistake you should avoid is going too heavy on your side squatting. If you go too heavy with your side squat, your knees will feel like jelly. The side squat does work out your quads, but if you go too heavy with your squats, your knees will feel like jelly. Do not do the side squat if you think your knees will not feel good after doing it.

3. Bending your knees high

The third mistake beginners seem to make is that they bend their back too much in the side squat. Resultantly,  a lot of strain on the back. This is where your legs will be stressed out the most. To avoid this, it’s best to try to do the exercise without bending the back.

4. Straining your neck

The fourth mistake you should avoid doing the side squat is straining your neck. Many seem to think that doing the exercise wrongly will help them overcome their weight problem. But this is wrong. Straining your neck and trying to do the exercise wrong will only lead to pain. In worse cases, it could cause permanent damage to your neck. So, if you feel the pain coming on when you do the exercise, don’t do it.

5. Cheating 

The last mistake that you should avoid doing the side squat is cheating. You should never lift your legs beyond their natural height. This is a common mistake among beginners and might cause you back injuries.

Indeed, you need to know the mistakes you should avoid doing side squats. It is important not to make these five mistakes because they can all lead to severe problems. Aside from strengthening your leg muscles, weight training also involves improving your balance. If you want to build up your physique and not injure yourself, you need to know how to do the side squat correctly.

Also Read:

Hindu Squats: The Complete Guide

A Beginners Guide To Pop Squats

Close Grip Lat Pulldown: The Complete Exercise Guide

Narrow Squats: The Complete Exercise Guide


Side squats are among one of the more strenuous exercise routines to master. Still, once you have mastered this exercise, it can be used in any workout and incorporated as a key exercise that will lead to an increased fitness level.

To conclude, if you want to be fit and strong, then the squatting exercise is for you. It will help you become stronger, harder, and faster. It is definitely worth the investment. You won’t be sorry when you include the benefits of squatting in your workout routine.

There are many ways to train, but squats seem to be one of the best ways. Why? Because it will help you build strong leg muscles and will help you gain muscle mass. It is a great workout that will provide you with benefits such as speed, endurance, and strength. You need to do squats regularly if you want to gain muscle mass and get into great shape.

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