What Are Bodyweight Squats? (Benefits, Variations, Calories Burned)

Not everyone has access to equipment or maybe you are traveling on the road. Bodyweight exercises can take you to your healthy body with the help of a healthy diet. Whatever your fitness goals whether it be getting all jacked or just toning and getting cut working bodyweight routines into your schedule

bodyweight squats

So what are bodyweight squats? Bodyweight squats are a great lower body strengthening exercise that you can do anywhere. There are many variations the basic is to have feet shoulder length apart and slowly lower your body until you legs are at 90 degrees while keeping back straight and head up. Once you reach the 90 degrees slowly push back up and thrust your hips forward then repeat. 

Bodyweight Squats Benefits

The squat is a move that is basic but does a great job of working out the entire lower body. You can perform this workout anywhere so it is great for those that are traveling or for those that don't have gym equipment. This is also an exercise that has major benefits for everyday life.

Benefits Include:

  • Building Lower Body Muscle – squats hit the biggest muscles in your body so with that your biggest muscles have to work together to perform this act.
  • Burning Calories – these squats allow you to get your heart rate up to fat burning mode. This is the benefit of high rep bodyweight squats you can keep going and shredding that fat.
  • Hip Benefits – your hips will benefit from squats as long as you keep the correct form you will keep mobility longer.
  • Strength Gains – squats strengthen the biggest muscles in your body and will also help with your lower legs and calves.

Muscles Worked:

  • Quads
  • Hamstrings
  • Glutes
  • Abdominals
  • Calves

Bodyweight Squats For Mass

This is a question we are asked a lot can bodyweight squats build mass? The answer is yes it can but it won't do it for everybody. If you are a beginner then yes you can build mass pretty easily with squats.

But at some point you may plateau even with all the variations of bodyweight squats at some point you are going to have to add weight to build mass.


Bodyweight Squat Variations

There are many variations of bodyweight squats that will keep your body guessing and keep your gains moving forward here is a list of those:

  • Sumo Squats – stand with your feet wide and toes pointed out perform as a normal squat going down to about 90 degrees then back up keeping your back straight and head up. The benefits of this are you are working more of your inner thigh and groin along with all the usual benefits.
  • Single Leg Squats – start with your feet at shoulder length wide toward pointing forward. Keep your hands out in front of you to create that balance as you raise your bent leg behind you. Go down as low as you can slowly then back up again. You can perform as many reps as you can on this side then jump to the other or alternate every rep. The more you do this the lower you will get.
  • Side Step Squat –same stance at shoulder width squat down until thighs are parallel to ground. Now as you are down take one foot and step to your right or left wider. Then move the other foot to shoulder length again while still squating. You can keep doing this at the squat level or push back up then back down. Go back and forth or keep going in the same direction for a few steps then back the other way.
  • Squat Into Calve Raise – start at shoulder width then perform a normal squat when completed raise up so your heals are off ground for a calve raise. This is a great way to hit up all your leg muscles in one fluid move.
  • Squat Into Jump – start at shoulder width drop down to squat with legs parallel then explode up so your feet come off the ground and land softly. You can do moves while in the air by spreading legs out wider along with arms just like a jumping jack in the air.
  • Frog Squat – similar to sumo squat but you get even lower. Toes pointing outward and stance wider lower until fingers can touch ground then reach arms up overhead and jump. Come back down into the same starting position and repeat.
  • Plie Squat w/ Heel Raises – toes pointing outward get down nice and low. When you get as low as you can with one of feet lift up the heel and slowly bring back down then complete with the other side. Now complete a squat then back down to repeat.
  • Squat Kickback – feet should width with toes forward perform a normal squat. On your way up kick one of your legs to the rear as if somebody is behind you and as you squat back down bring the leg back to the normal stance and switch.
  • Burpee Squat – perform a normal burpee but when you come back up stay in that squat position and repeat the burpee. This will keep your muscles flexed with no rest creating an insatiable burn.

Related Questions

What Are Bodyweight Squats Good For?

Bodyweight squats are great for a number of different things including:

Building Up To Weights – if you are looking to get into powerlifting, weightlifting, or bodybuilding you are going to have to do weighted squats. Bodyweight squats will help train you to get there. Being able to perform 100-200 bodyweights first comfortably should do the trick before graduating to weights.

Warmup – squats will get you warmed up in a hurry before doing your actual exercise. Since you are working out some of the biggest muscles your core temperature will rise so they are great thing to do before getting into your main workout.

Good Enough – they can by themselves tone and build your legs and glutes especially when first starting out. Increase your reps and sets to continue building.

Is It Okay To Do Bodyweight Squats Everyday?

Yes bodyweight squats can be performed everyday just don't push your limits. Lets say for example you are doing them for a warm up then just don't do more then maybe 50-100 to get your legs and core temperature up to par.

Where Should A Person's Weight Be Placed In A Bodyweight Squat?

Your weight should be balanced straight up and down as much as possible. You do this by being in an athletic stance keeping your butt down and back straight along with your head up. Use your hands and arms to keep yourself in this position. But your weight should ultimately be placed in your bottom glutes.

Are Air Squats Bad For Your Knees?

Air squats and even weights squats get a bad rap with being bad for your knees or creating knee injuries. In all honestly if they are done correctly the actually help your knees. You shouldn't have knee pain when doing squats if you do you are probably not performing correctly or you have a knee injury you should have your doctor look at.


Bodyweight squats are a great way to get a workout in without any weights and you can also do them anywhere so no excuses. There are many variations to keep them interesting. You can add in plyometrics or even ballet moves or some burpees. Just make sure you get your form down and do some high reps to see how far you can push it.

Try them out right now and see how you like them there is nothing holding you back. If you do them consistently you will feel the effects in weeks not months and it will be amazing addition to your workout routine. Add weights in when you get comfortable to really get them ripped.

Tab Winner

We are fun loving family that lives on a small farm and tries to be healthy. We are not fitness fanatics we are just trying to keep things simple especially with how busy our lives are. We have a few horses, a few dogs, and a young daughter along with a big extended family. Follow us on our journey. I hope you enjoy the website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Please check back for updates!

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