Tag: squats

Bodyweight Exercise One Legged Band Sissy Squat

I like to do some type of bodyweight exercise for warming up. It’s also great for working the smaller stabilizing muscles that I think shouldn’t be trained under heavy load. Unilateral bodyweight exercise is particularly good for the stabilizers and core.

bodyweight exercise is one tool in quad development
Quad definition is a combination of nutrition and training

In this example, the one legged band sissy squat, it takes a lot of effort to stay level. It’s definitely not for beginners. You should get in a few hundred reps on the two leg version of this bodyweight exercise before trying the single leg version. Try it with your feet and knees together to work your way into it. This simulates the balance of doing it with one leg.

If you’ve done the band version of the sissy squat all you need to do to convert it to the single leg bodyweight exercise is to lift one leg and place the ankle over your knee. Lower slowly the first time or two and don’t try the full range of motion until you get a feel for it. It’s quite different.

Bodyweight Exercise Video for One Legged Band Sissy Squat

[youtube https://youtu.be/VS3_5lYN4ac&w=640&h=360&rel=0]

The blue band I am using is the Jumpstretch Strong Band #6 but similar products from EliteFTS will work as well.

Setting up the bodyweight exercise for legs

I’m looping mine over the pullup bar on my power rack. You can use just about anything that will hold your body weight and is a little over head high. Like the top of a door. Think simple. You could loop a piece of webbing with a knot in it and slam it in a solid door. Be careful though to make it strong enough. This is a bodyweight exercise. Test your system with full body weight before you drop backward into the squat.

If you feel any level of pain or major instability stop immediately. You might have to work your way into this gently with something like one legged chair sitting or partial squats with one leg. I’m including the video for this easier bodyweight exercise below:

[youtube https://youtu.be/HgeAHa9UuB4&w=640&h=360&rel=0]

One-Leg Partial Squat to Bench

I do like to work my legs. They’re one of my favorite bodyparts to train, respond well, and recover quickly. Perhaps that’s because I do a lot of “pre-hab” work. This is a variation of a one-leg squat that’s fairly simple for most people to do. I’m using an adjustable box squat bench, but just about anything you have, like a chair, box, bench, toybox, entertainment center or whatever, can be made to work.

Stand beside the box with your weighted food parallel to the side of the box or bench, lift your unweighted leg to bend the knee, and very slowly and carefully lower your knee to the bench, and back to standing straight several times. I like to do sets of 25 for this, since it’s so light and has very little effect at this height – for me. You might just do a handful on each side the first time, like a set of 5 each, and see how it goes, then work your way up.


Pre-Hab is a twist on “re-hab” – by doing simple little stabilizing motions as a warmup for other heavier training, you can make sure your muscles are fully warmed up, flexible, and prepared for the stress of heavier weights. Proper preparation can help prevent injuries that can lead to re-hab, so Pre-Hab = Prevent re-Hab.

Since this is primarily a quad exercise, you’ll want to do these before bigger squats, or even leg extensions, especially since leg extensions rarely require any type of stabilizing involvement, and can actually de-train (reduce the strength through lack of use) your stabilizing muscles.

Go slow, don’t bounce off the bench, don’t slam your knee down, and if you lose your balance, let go of your ankle and stand up quick. Enjoy!

Band Sissy Squats

In my previous Blast Strap Sissy Squat article I showed a variation of the Sissy Squat supported by straps hung from a power rack. Today I’ll show a variation using a large rubber band. You can get these online from a variety of places, my personal favorite being EliteFTS.

In this variation you’re much less stable, and don’t break (fold) at the hips. This puts more of the force directly on the quads, but for some people the stress on the knee might not be acceptable, so be cautious – go slow till you know. I had previously experimented with a few sizes of bands, to roughly negate my weight at full stretch about a foot off the floor. In my case that was the Jump Stretch Green, or Strong Band. YMMV. You can fine-tune the force of the band by choking up or down on it with your hands. Don’t use too light of a band and just drop – you’ll hit the floor hard. Trust me…

Hang on and use your quads to slowly descend and ascend, hinging at the knees. Use your core to hold your knees to shoulders in a straight line. Hold your arms and hands neutral – don’t yank on the band. Slow and stead is the proper method.

Remember too that this is an accessory, or extra motion if you’re already training hard. Something to flush blood and toxins, or warm up, or cool down, or get the quads pre-fatigued so that the effects of other leg training can be modified for your goals. It’s also great for rehab or working up to doing full squats.


Pre-Fatigue: if you want to focus more on your posterior (hams/glutes) in a squat or deadlift, pre-fatigue, or train your quads to a good tired, worked state, so that they are relied upon less in your other lifts. Many bodybuilders use this concept in their quest to do full-body complete training for balance and symmetry. Others of us might not have to worry about it, but if you are really quad-dominant, you might experiment to see if that gives your hams an added boost. It might be worth the effort.


Blast Strap Sissy Squats

Looking for a reasonably safe bodyweight style exercise for your quads and legs? The Blast Strap Sissy Squat is a great option for you to explore. I have done Sissy Squats using a number of different hand-holds, from doorways to bars to railings, but none of them gave me the full range of motion and focused the movement on the quads like the Blast Straps have (and as of this writing they’re on an awesome sale).

I hooked my straps to the top of my power rack, and there’s enough other weight on the rack that it doesn’t slide or tip when I use them.

For those of you who already have, or would rather have them, the TRX Pro Pack + Door Anchor would work just as well plugged high on a sturdy doorframe or other support.


The only tricky part is to line up your feet under your hands so that you have full range of motion up and down without sliding or tipping, or putting way too much weight on your arms. With the straps your hands go up and down quite a ways that they wouldn’t be able to on a static surface like a doorway.

Go slow, figure out your alignment, and remember that my full range of motion and yours might be quite a bit different. Another alignment issue is to point your toes so that they are lined up with your knees so as to avoid knee pain or stress that might lead to or irritate an injury. This may be straight or not, depending on your own joints and muscles and mobility.

In general bodyweight exercises are a good choice for warming up the joints and muscles for larger weights, or even as your main workout. If you can do 10 full range of motion controlled reps, you can either call that a warmup for something else, do 10 sets of 10, or work into sets of 25 and then up to 4 sets of 25. Research has shown that a good effect can be gotten from lighter weights at 4 sets of 25, and if that works for you then by all means, go for it.

Be careful, go slow, stay in control, and don’t get hurt.

Sissy Squat Mobility Rehab GPP Conditioning Exercise

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 …