The kneeling squat is a great exercise to build lower body and glute strength while protecting those vulnerable knees.
The kneeling squat is a great variation to the traditional squat and will work to really build lower body strength with a host of other benefits. We all know we need some sort of a squat in our routine and often times the traditional squat is a lot on our body. Finding a safe and effective alternative can work to develop strength, power, and stability while still giving us great foundational support for sport specific and functional strength. Without it, our training and performance can suffer and that’s something we just don’t want or need.
Let’s check out this great exercise in the kneeling squat and see what it’s all about. From what it is, to muscles worked, the great benefits, and how to perform it, you will be well on your way to tackling any lift that comes your way by building a great foundation for lower body strength.
What Is The Kneeling Squat?
The kneeling squat shares all the same characteristics of a traditional back squat but does so by protecting your knees. Since the barbell back squat is one of the best strength building exercises and one of the big three powerlifts, the benefits of having a squat in your workout routine is undeniable. The kneeling squat is versatile and can be done anywhere, with or without equipment, although with equipment will surely enhance those gains. Kneeling squats are perfect for those you may struggle with glute engagement during a traditional squat in order to help establish better mind-muscle connection and form to tackle any lift that comes your way (1).
The kneeling squat is a great lower body builder and one to definitely not overlook. As a great form of a squat, this will work your quads and hamstrings as they are required throughout the entire movement. With the bend followed by the upward movement, you rely on these muscles for the full range of motion. Your glutes get some serious work done, both the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius. Responsible for assisting the movement and providing stability, this is big bonus with this exercise. Depending on if you use a barbell or dumbbells, your arms may get work done with the dumbbells given the way you have to hold them.
Benefits Of The Kneeling Squat
The benefits of this exercise are great and should absolutely not be ignored, for they can really work for lower body strength and functionality as you seek gains with other big lifts. Benefits include:
- Strengthening lower body muscles: This is a great exercise for working your glutes, quads, and hamstrings (2).
- Activate glutes: Really work to activate glutes to enhance strength and valuable stability needed on other big lifts (3).
- Develop power and stability: Like any good lower body exercise, this can really enhance all areas of your power and stability to aid in sport specific movements and those more functional ones.
- Low impact on your knees: A great variation to the squat that works to protect your knees (4).
- Allow for higher reps: Being in a slightly different, less vulnerable position, this will work to allow for higher reps to maximize hypertrophy.
- Good for rehab: Work to bounce back from an injury or soreness while still working on strengthening those lower body muscles.
How To Perform It
Here are the steps for performing the kneeling squat:
- Begin in a kneeling position with your knees around shoulder width apart, similar to a regular squat. Place the bar on your back, just above your shoulder blades.
- With your back straight and core tight, slowly lower into a squat until your glutes touch your heels.
- As you drive back to the starting position, extend your pelvis forward similar to a deadlift and make sure to squeeze your glutes at the top.
- Reset and repeat for your desired amount of reps.
Knowing some great alternatives can help add variety to your workout while still aiding in that valuable growth and other benefits of a squatting exercise. Here are some great alternatives to try:
- Kneeling squats with dumbbells
- Kneeling squats with resistance bands
- Kneeling squat jump
- Box squat
- Goblet squat
When it comes to any exercise, we want to start building up our supplementation shelf to reflect all of our hard earned gains. For something like this exercise, looking to a creatine supplement can make sure we give our bodies the proper fuel they need to thrive and build that desired muscle. Creatine will work to build muscle and allow for that sculpted physique to start to take shape and it is no wonder why so many have gravitated towards this supplement. Let’s check out a great creatine product from Transparent Labs that can boost all your gains.
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The kneeling squat is the perfect squatting variation to allow for continued growth while still giving you the benefit of working on strength and glute activation for all your desired gains. Since we all need a good squat in our routine, it is important to know what is out there so we can still see the gains we want most. Give the kneeling squat exercise a try and see what this can do for all of your gains today.
*Images courtesy of Transparent Labs and Envato
- Del Vecchio, Luke; Daewoud, Hays; Green, Shannon (2018). “The health and performance benefits of the squat, deadlift, and bench press”. (source)
- Lucero, Rhys A. J.; Fry, Andrew C.; LeRoux, Christopher D.; Hermes, Matthew J. (2019). “Relationships between barbell squat strength and weightlifting performance”. (source)
- Neto, Walter K.; Soares, Enrico G.; Vieira, Thais L.; Aguiar, Rodolfo; et al. (2020). “Gluteus Maximus Activation during Common Strength and Hypertrophy Exercises: A Systematic Review”. (source)
- Chandler, T. J.; Wilson, G. D.; Stone, M. H. (1989). “The effect of the squat exercise on knee stability”. (source)