The Sissy Squat is one of my favorite warming up exercises for any other type of squat. It warms up the joints and muscles with very little risk under a very light load. It is excellent for rehab or mobility work, since you can work through a greater range of motion than when your back is experiencing compression loads (bar on your shoulders). It’s also excellent to include in General Physical Preparedness. GPP should be a large part of your early training efforts, and might be a good inclusion in a year-long training cycle just to make sure you’re not missing anything while you’re training for other more specific goals.
In the variation I demonstrate in the video, I’m grasping the side posts of the power rack about mid-chest height. I put my toes against the bottom rail just as a marker for alignment more than anything – it’s not important since you don’t push against it. I let my butt ride outward and hang lightly from my arms, then drop my butt toward my heels and then use my upper legs to push my butt back out.
For this training session I’m using it as a warmup for squats, so I’m doing a set of 10 just to get the blood flowing and my joints warm. I might otherwise do maybe 4 sets of 25 if I were doing it as my light leg workout. You might have other goals and needs, but just about any set/rep pattern could be used.
3 x 10
5 x 5
4 x 25
4 x 8
Are just examples. Don’t use weight since your knee might experience too much shear force. This is a light-duty movement, and if you can use more weight, or do regular squats with a loaded bar, you should do your mass gaining training with regular squats and use this for warming up or as a toxin-flushing exercise on your off days. If you can’t do squats with a loaded bar, working your way up to higher sustained reps (25, 50, 100) might help you work into larger squats.
Be sure to only employ a range of motion suitable for your body, and don’t try to emulate mine. If you have shoulder or wrist issues, adjust the placement of your hands, or the angle, using a table edge or door frame or some other appropriate object to grasp. Try to not to use excessive force to brace or lever yourself with your arms or hands. If you have any hip, ankle or knee issues, please be sure to limit your movement, or seek the advice of a qualified physical therapist to guide you in adjusting this motion for safety. If you’re confident that you can work through your issues safely on your own, then work toward greater range and smoothness of motion.
Your mileage may vary of course …