Squats work the powerful and essential glutes, quads and hamstrings in the lower body. They give you confidence to wear tight-fitting jeans or to showcase your legs in revealing clothing. And that works for women and men alike!

But if you’re not feeling squats in your weekly workout regime, you have nothing to fear, there are plenty of alternatives that can fit the bill.

Here are a few squat alternatives for you to try out. You will need some weights and other fitness gear to make these happen.


Always remember to execute proper form. That won’t be a problem as long as you follow my instructions to a tee.

1. Lunges

I like to call lunges the exercises I love to hate. I love the effect you get from them but I hate doing them because they’re tough. But that’s just me. You might love to love them!

– Grab a set of dumbbells and hold them at your sides with your palms facing in.

– Take a big step forward with your right foot and bend both knees to lower yourself toward the floor. Stop when your right knee is 90 degrees and your back knee is just above the floor.

– Step back to your starting position and repeat with your other leg. Alternate back and forth in a smooth and steady motion.

squat alternatives_2You also have the option of doing Walking Lunges. Simply alternate lunging with each leg across a room.

Regardless of the variation, make sure to always keep your upper body vertical to the ground.

2. High-knee Step-ups

You are going to need a sturdy plyo box or bench to do this exercise. Ideally the box is about knee level or slightly lower.

– Hold dumbbells at your sides and stand with the box in front of you.

– Place your right foot on the box and press down to lift your body.

– Move your left leg in front of your body and up while bending your knee. Stop when your thigh is parallel to the floor and hold for a second.

– Place your left foot back on the floor then your right foot.

squat alternatives_3Perform the same movement with your left foot on the box and continue to alternate back and forth. Count one rep when you’ve stepped up with both legs.

3. Deadlifts

You have the option of using a barbell or dumbbells for deadlifts. I suggest you practice with both and use whatever you feel most comfortable with. I’m going to describe it with dumbbells.

– Grab a set of moderately heavy dumbbells from a rack and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the weights in front of your body with your palms facing in.

squat alternatives_5– Keep your back straight and push your hips backward as you bend your knees and lower the weights toward the floor.

It is important to keep your shins as vertical to the floor as possible when you do this.

– Stop when your thighs are about 45 degrees to the floor and stand back up in a smooth, fluid motion.

– Squeeze your glutes forcefully at the top and repeat. Look straight ahead the entire time and do not round your shoulders.

And there you have your wonderfully effective alternatives to squats!

The next time you go to the gym, give these exercises a whirl and see how you make out. If you run into any questions or concerns, feel free to give me a shout any time.

Connect with Expert Kevin Rail.

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