Done properly (red: safely), squats get the job done, whether you use light weights (and lots of reps), heavy weights (watch that back!) or no weights at all (a bazillion reps). Done improperly, they’re about as effective as any other exercise done wrong (translated: not effective at all).
If you’re squat-shy, the folks at the Huffington Post have you covered. The recently shared four cool moves to tone and strengthen your legs and butt, none of which are squats.
They are (for video and instructions, click on the link above):
- Back Lunges. Not sure why they didn’t just go with plain, old forward lunges, which bomb your quads and calves, but we’re cool with these, which place more emphasis on your butt. They’re also great for stretching your groin.
- Step–Ups. These can be a killer, but very effective. Once you’ve mastered, add box jumps to your regimen.
- Side–Lying Legs Lifts. Pretty rudimentary move, especially while lying on the ground. If you work out regularly and have been doing so for awhile, raise your hips then lift your top leg.
- Side Lunges. We like this move because it works the oft-neglected muscles on the side of your hips, as well as the sides of your glutes.
The best thing about these moves is that you don’t need to go to the gym to try them. You may do them at home (wood floors are best for the side lunges), in your hotel or at the park. Try them all in a super-set (go through one set of each move–10-5 reps, then repeat, at least three rounds).
So no excuses. Tighten those legs and glutes, starting today!