9 Exercises to do instead of Squats for Stronger Legs

Are you tired of the same old squat routine and looking for fresh ways to strengthen your legs? Good news, look no further! In this article, we will explore 9 exercises to do instead of squats for stronger legs. These best squat alternatives will take your lower-body exercises to the next level. While squats are a fantastic exercise for building lower body strength, mixing up your routine with these alternative moves can help target different muscle groups, prevent plateaus, and keep things exciting.

From explosive jumps to single-leg movements, these exercises offer a diverse range of challenges that will push your muscles in new ways. Whether you’re a seasoned gym-goer or just starting out on your fitness journey, incorporating these alternatives into your leg day routine is sure to leave you feeling stronger and more accomplished than ever before. Get ready to shake up your workout and unlock the full potential of your lower body with these 9 squat alternative exercises!

What Are 9 Exercises to Do Instead of Squats for Stronger Legs?

Let’s dive right into our fitness experts’ favorite 9 Exercises to do instead of Squats for Stronger Legs!

1. Bulgarian split squats with Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube: 

Why try the Bulgarian split squats?  This exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings while also improving balance and stability.

How to do a Bulgarian split squat?  Stand facing away from Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube. (If you don’t have a plyo cube, a bench or stair step works well too.) Place one leg resting on the box behind you, shoelaces lying on the box. Lower your back knee towards the ground while keeping your front knee in line with your ankle. Push through the heel of your front foot to return to the starting position.

This exercise is plenty challenging with just your body weight but if you’d like to make it more difficult, add a dumbbell or kettlebell!

2. Goblet Squats with Smart Medicine Ball: 

Why try a Goblet Squat with a Smart Medicine Ball? Goblet squats are an excellent exercise for targeting the lower body, especially the quads and glutes. Adding a Smart Medicine Ball enhances this exercise by adding resistance and instability.

How to do a Goblet Squat with a Smart Medicine Ball? To perform a Goblet Squat with a Smart Medicine Ball, start by holding the ball close to your chest with both hands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes pointed slightly outward. Keeping your back straight and core engaged, lower yourself into a squat position by bending at the knees and hips.

As you descend, make sure to keep your weight on your heels and avoid letting your knees go past your toes. Once your thighs reach parallel or just below parallel with the ground, pause for a moment before pushing through your heels to return to the starting position.

By using a Smart Medicine Ball during this exercise, you not only add resistance but also challenge your stability. The uneven weight distribution of the ball requires more control from your core muscles as they work harder to stabilize throughout the movement. 

3. Pistol Squats with Smart Straps Suspension Trainer: 

Woman does pistol squats with assist of Smart Straps Body Weight Trainer

Why try a Pistol squat with Smart Straps Suspension Trainer? Pistol squats is one of the best squat alternatives. Adding the Smart Straps Suspension Trainer is a great way to improve your balance, strength, and flexibility. This exercise specifically targets your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles while also challenging your stabilizer muscles.

How to do a Pistol Squats with Smart Straps Suspension Trainer? To perform this exercise, begin by attaching the Smart Straps Suspension Trainer to a secure anchor point. Hold onto the handles of the straps with a firm grip and face the anchor point.

Extend a single leg straight in front of you while keeping your other foot planted firmly on the ground. Slowly lower yourself down into a squat position on one leg, maintaining control and balance throughout the movement.

Once you reach as low as you can go without losing proper form or balance, drive through your heel to return to the starting position. Repeat for several reps before switching legs and performing on the opposite side.

4.  Reverse Lunge with SMART Medicine Ball

The why:  Lunges are a great way to mimic the movement of a squat while reducing pressure on the knees. 

To perform this exercise, begin by holding the medicine ball with both hands at chest level. Step backward with one foot and lower your body until your front knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Your back knee should hover just above the ground. Keep your torso upright and core engaged throughout the movement. Press through your front heel to return to the starting position, bringing your back foot forward next to your front foot. Repeat for several reps on one leg before switching to the other side.

5. Step-ups with Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube: 

Smart Plyo Cube-step up

Why do Step ups with a Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube? Step-ups with a Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube are an excellent exercise for strengthening the lower body and improving balance and stability. The addition of the plyo cube allows for different height variations, making this exercise more versatile and challenging. The use of a plyo cube adds an element of explosiveness to this exercise if performed with speed and power. This can help improve athletic performance by developing fast twitch muscle fibers responsible for explosive movements like sprinting or jumping. 

How to perform step-ups with a Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube? Start by placing one foot flat on top of the cube. Keep your chest up, core engaged, and maintain good posture throughout the movement. With control, push through your heel to lift your body up onto the box. Fully extend your hip and knee at the top before slowly lowering yourself back down to the starting position. Repeat for several reps on one leg before switching to the other side.

6. Romanian Deadlift with Smart Guard Sleeved Tubing

The why: The best squat alternatives target multiple muscles in the lower body simultaneously. This exercise primarily works the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back muscles, but it also engages the quadriceps and calves to a lesser extent. The addition of SMART Guard Sleeved Tubing further intensifies the workout by providing resistance throughout the entire range of motion. As you perform the Romanian deadlift, you’ll feel a constant tension in your muscles as you stretch them on the way down and contract them on the way up. This exercise not only strengthens and tones your legs but also improves hip stability and balance. It helps develop strong posterior chain muscles that can enhance athletic performance in activities such as running, jumping, and lifting. Furthermore, Romanian deadlifts with Smart Guard Sleeved Tubing put minimal stress on your knees compared to other leg exercises like squats or lunges.  

The how-to: Place your feet shoulder-width apart and have the resistance band beneath your feet between the heel and arch. Hold the band snug in an overhand grip, knuckles out, hips back, slight bend in the knee, and maintain a flat back. Lift, contracting your glutes, and push them forward. Pause, then slowly release and smoothly return to start.

7. Lateral Walk with Smart Guard Sleeved Tubing

The why:  This is a great way to activate the glutes and work on proper form while moving your hips, knees, and feet in unison.

The how-to:  Hold the resistance band or sleeved tubing in your hand about shoulder height and keep it snug as you put the other end of the tubing underneath your feet. Keeping your legs shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, and your core braced, step your right foot out to the side and then follow with your left. Then, step to the side with your left and let your right follow. Repeat.

8. Box jumps with Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube

Why are box jumps a great exercise? 

Box jumps are a great exercise because they target the muscles in your lower body, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They also help improve explosive power, coordination, and balance. By incorporating the Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube into your box jump routine, you can take this exercise to the next level.

The Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube is an adjustable piece of equipment that allows you to vary the height of your box jump. This means that as you get stronger and more comfortable with box jumps, you can increase the intensity by raising the height of the cube.

To perform box jumps with the Smart 3 in 1 Plyo Cube:

1. Start by standing facing the cube with your feet hip-width apart.

2. Bend your knees slightly and keep a soft bend in them throughout the entire movement.

3. Swing your arms back for momentum as you simultaneously jump off both feet onto the top surface of the cube.

Want to learn more about the benefits of plyometric exercises? Start here: Add Plyometric Training to Your Routine for These 4 Powerful Results!

 9. Glute Bridge Roll Out with SMART Stability Ball

Smart Stability Ball-Hip Raise, roll out

The why:  Glute bridges target the glutes without placing any weight on your knees. This exercise is especially beneficial for strengthening the hip muscles and improving core stability. The glute bridge roll out variation adds an additional challenge by incorporating a Smart Stability Ball, which further engages the abdominal muscles.

How-to: perform the Glute Bridge Roll Out with the SMART Stability Ball:

1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and heels on the ball.

2. Engage your glutes to lift your hips off the ground until you form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.

3. Hold this position while maintaining control of both the ball and your pelvic alignment.

4. Slowly roll the ball away from you by extending your legs in front of you while keeping them elevated off of the ground and spine aligned. Roll back to start. Repeat

How do I turn these 9 leg exercises into a lower body workout??!

For the best results, we recommend working on a consistent program written by a certified personal trainer.  Our fitness experts recommend performing three or four sets of 10 to 15 reps for each exercise. Rest 30 to 45 seconds between sets.

Looking for a quicker workout?  Pick 4 to 5 of the above exercises and perform 8 reps with 30 to 45 seconds of rest between sets.

Get everything you need to do the above exercises with our SMART In-Home Gym.

Incorporating a variety of exercises into your leg workout routine can help you achieve stronger and more balanced leg muscles. From lunges to deadlifts, these squat alternative exercises target different muscle groups and offer a well-rounded approach to leg strength training. By diversifying your workouts, you can prevent plateaus and continually challenge your muscles for optimal growth and development.

Remember to prioritize proper form and technique to minimize the risk of injury while maximizing the effectiveness of each exercise. So, whether you’re looking to increase your athletic performance or simply improve your overall strength, don’t limit yourself to just standard squats—explore these 9 best squat alternatives for stronger legs and unlock their full potential.

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